‘Unify for our health’
The autumn graduation season is in full swing at Kwazulu-natal institutions and the Sunday Tribune caught up with a few of the graduates this week
IN SOUTH Africa, patients frequently move between traditional healers and radiation oncologists to seek cures for cancer, yet these health practitioners do not communicate, let alone collaborate with each other.
While doing research for her PHD in health science, Dr Busisiwe Nkosi interviewed 28 traditional healers and four oncologists in Kwazulu-natal.
“The aim of my study was to explore the practice of traditional health practitioners in the treatment of patients with cancer to describe a viable, co-operative practice between them and radiation oncologists and to ultimately develop traditional health practitioners as a component of the health system in the treatment of cancer patients,” she said.
Nkosi and her friend, Dr Mogapi Mohapi, made history on Thursday by becoming the first students to graduate with the new PHD in health sciences qualification at the Durban University of Technology (DUT).
Nkosi, who joined DUT in 2013 after working for 28 years at the Gauteng Department of Health as head of department in radiography and chief radiographer in radiotherapy, said she was motivated by a desire to improve people’s lives.
She registered for a PHD in June 2014, titled: “A framework of co-operative practice between radiation oncologists and traditional health practitioners in the management of patients with cancer in Kwazulu-natal province”.
The DUT radiography lecturer said she had noticed that some cancer patients did not adhere strictly to instructions to complete their radiation treatment and were consulting traditional healers.
The results of her study indicated that despite the mandate by government for traditional healers and cancer specialists to work together and refer patients between them, they both have negative perceptions about each other’s treatment methodologies.
“Consequently, cancer patients move freely between health practitioners and interrupt treatment.
“However, the study also showed that with mutual trust and respect, both are willing to work together in harmony,” she said.
Meanwhile Mohapi, who is a senior lecturer in the department of biomedical and clinical technology at DUT, has been an academic since the days of ML Sultan Technikon.
The merger between ML Sultan Technikon and Technikon Natal motivated him to further his studies. He registered for his PHD in 2013 with the title being: “The efficacy of an instructional model on the quality of teaching and learning using assessment”.
“My research was undertaken to promote and encourage lecturers to adopt not only conventional instructional strategies and practices but to also to promote and encourage integrated, authentic, dynamic and innovative instructional strategies and practices such as active learning, where students are encouraged to enthusiastically participate and engage with learning, teaching and assessment.”
Executive dean at DUT’S faculty of health sciences, Professor Nokuthula Sibiya, said she encouraged the pair to publish more works on various subjects so that their research could be used to improve people’s lives.