11 June 2015 Volume :3 Issue :28

Community Engagement a Priority at UKZN

Community Engagement a Priority at UKZN
Ms Megan Dey-van Heerden presents the King-Dinuzulu Group’s community engagement project.

UKZN fourth-year psychiatric nursing students have been involved in several community engagement projects aimed at assisting communities with health and social issues in and around Durban as part of their final-year curriculum.  

The King-Dinuzulu Group, comprising six Psychiatric nursing students, presented their project titled: HIV in Mental Health Care, which included a short HIV awareness film aimed at people accessing mental health care services.

The students - Ms Megan Dey-van Heerden, Ms Pauline Kapena, Ms Claudia Botha, Ms Yashmika Tika, Ms Zanoxolo Buthelezi and Ms Lindelwa Zungu - worked closely with the producer, script writers, professional actors and other members of the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance (AFDA) production team to produce the film. 

The students identified that HIV testing rates in mental health care clinics were low. ‘During our literature review, we identified a high prevalence of HIV among mental health care users. The risk factors varied,’ said Dey-van Heerden.  

In their project, the Chatsworth Community Project 2015 group, comprising Ms Nqobile Sithole, Ms Nomzamo Simamane, Ms Nompumelelo Zulu, Mr Mpendulo Ngcobo and Mr Mqobi Faya, worked with Grade 8 learners from Montarena Secondary School, focusing on developing an increased sense of self-esteem and self-respect.  

The students did research at the School through the Chatsworth Psychiatric Clinic with the help of the clinic manager Mrs Nalini Padyachee’s existing relationship with the school. Principal of the school, Mr P. Govender, told the group about current issues, including drug abuse. ‘The students decided to assist by working with the principal to reverse the victim mentality of the learners and redirecting the focus in a strength-based direction,’ said Faya. 

‘Some of our aims were to promote a good perception about academic achievements such as performing well in class tests and exams and to keep learners within the school premises which will help them achieve their best results,’ he added.  Faya said the project encouraged learners to dress according to the school’s code of conduct. 

The Phoenix community project 2015 titled: Together in Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), was completed by Ms Mandisa Manzi, Ms Olwethu Chili, Ms Nicole Rungen, Ms Sharne Wroots, Mr Sandile Mcunu and Mr Xolelani Ngubane. 

The project aimed to help provide adequate knowledge to parents about ADHD and create an understanding of the diagnoses. ‘The project addressed parents’ and guardians’ concerns about the medication (commonly Ritalin) being used and also provided knowledge about other forms of management besides medication,’ Manzi said. 

They also helped restore the Phoenix Starwood Psychiatric Clinic play area which was created by the previous group of students.  

The last project, Umbilo Community Profile 2015, was conducted by Ms Zanele Khuzwayo, Ms Nokuzola Luthuli, Ms Hlengiwe Madonsela, Ms Hlengiwe Nkosi, Ms Thembeka  Nsele and Ms Vuyiswa Nyawose.  

Titled: Collaborating Together for the Future, the project examined ways in which the University community could work together with the Umbilo Community. 

The group launched a collaboration between UKZN nursing students and the role players of the community after noticing several challenges faced by the Glenwood Christian School. 

Students said the learners in the school were exposed to various social challenges and they decided to focus on the school by assisting it with available services and resources in the area. 

The group worked in collaboration with the police to do needs assessment of the area and also formed links with the school’s principal. 

Students were assisted by their lecturer Mrs Ann Jarvis in all their projects.

Nombuso Dlamini


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