SNPH Research Academic Leader Co-authors First Nature Review with Renowned researchers
UKZN’s SNPH Research Academic Leader Dr Tivani Mashamba-Thompson has co-authored a ground-breaking Nature Review article with renowned researchers from Imperial College London, University College London (UCL), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI).
Titled Taking Connected Mobile-health (mHeath) Diagnostics of Infectious Diseases to the Field, the article contributes important information to help improve disease diagnosis and management, as well as improve the efficiency of our health system.
The South African Department of Health 2015-19 mHealth strategy highlights the importance of incorporating and scaling up the use of mHealth to help in the provision of improved health services to the population.
The application of mobile devices, their components and related technologies to healthcare is improving patients’ access to treatment and advice. Combination of mHealth with diagnostic devices can offer new possibilities to diagnose, track and control infectious diseases and improve health system efficiencies.
Mashamba-Thompson was invited by the article’s first authors, Dr Chris Wood and Dr Mike Thomas, point-of-care diagnostics developers from Imperial College and Kobus Herbst AHRI’s Chief Information Officer and the PI of the Institute’s Population Intervention Programme to contribute her knowledge to their Nature Review.
‘The invitation came as a surprise,’ she said. ‘They expressed their appreciation and valued the research work that I have conducted on implementation of point-of-care diagnostics in rural South Africa,’ she added.
‘As an African female early career researcher, this invitation was a big deal, especially coming from diagnostics developers and researchers in the top Higher Education and research institutions,’ said an elated Mashamba-Thompson.
Other female co-authors include Chair of Diagnostics Research and Director of the International Diagnostics Centre (IDC) at the LSHTM Professor Rossanna Peeling; Director of the Centre of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at University College London, Professor Dame Anne Johnson; Director of I-SENSE EPSRC IRC in UCL, Professor Rachel McKendry and Research Director for Biomedical Materials Sciences in the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London, Professor Molly Stevens.
‘I really appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with experts operating at this level. We have plans for future collaborative research projects, which will strengthen our institutional partnership and create more opportunities for others.’
She has been invited to speak at the upcoming UCL Summit on the Ignite summit on 26-27 March 2019. The aim of Ignite is to bring together leaders in medical innovation to challenge one another, learn from other sectors and develop new ways of thinking and working.
‘The experience gained as part of the summit will help in the development of transformative educational programmes in the fields of medical innovation and regulatory science,’ said Mashamba-Thompson.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini