Medical Students Present their Innovative Solution to International Experts in Geneva
Medical Students, Mr Kapil Narain (final-year) and Mr Mohamed Hoosen Suleman (second-year), were selected by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to present their strategic intervention to tackle Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) to an international panel of experts.
Their proposed strategy was selected as one of 10 global winning solutions at an innovation challenge (Innovate 4 AMR). A diverse panel of scientists from various fields such as Public Health, Infectious Diseases, Epidemiology, Behavioural Scientists, Communication Experts, and Implementation Strategists listened to their solution and provided feedback on how to further refine and possibly implement their proposal.
The aspirant doctors have made great strides in their academic careers and are committed to improving health systems and policies.
‘Mohamed and I are fortunate to have been given such a prestigious opportunity to present at an international platform. Being recognised by such global giants in health care is something to be proud of. Meeting and engaging with leading experts in the field of Public Health was an exhilarating experience,’ said Narain, who initiated the idea and discovered the competition.
The two, who also presented their intervention at the Conference on Antibiotic Stewardship and Conservation in Africa, are developing an App to improve patient compliance with medication.
Suleman, who previously received his degree in Pharmacy summa cum laude from UKZN explained, ‘Non-compliance with medication is a significant contributor to Antimicrobial Resistance. Kapil and I designed an innovative approach using cell phone-based technology to send automated reminders via text messages to patients to take their medication on time.’
This system caters for each patient, with reminders sent at specific times with instructions on how to take their medication, as per their prescription.
While in Geneva, Narain and Suleman visited the WHO Headquarters where they were briefed on how high-level meetings are convened for member states from around the world to discuss health issues. They visited the WHO Emergency Operations Room where all emergency outbreaks across the globe are monitored. Access to this room is limited as vital and sensitive information regarding health matters in every country is displayed on the screens.
Narain and Suleman were also granted an audience with the WHO Assistant Director General, Dr Hanan Balkhy - who congratulated them on their outstanding work and expressed satisfaction at knowing that there are passionate youth determined to find solutions to the growing global health challenges.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini