New Head of Department of Public Health
UKZN’s Department of Public Health Medicine has welcomed Dr Saloshni Naidoo as its new Chief Specialist/ Head of Department.
‘I am very excited about my appointment,’ said Naidoo. ‘It will give me an opportunity to contribute to and further develop Public Health Medicine participation in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, research and service delivery.’
Naidoo, who has been in a specialist post at the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health since 2003 working actively in Public and Occupational Health, says Public Health Medicine principles are key to addressing the health priorities of the South African population.
Working with colleagues, she wants to strengthen the use of the Community Orientated Primary Care (COPC) approach in teaching undergraduate medicine and further extend postgraduate training of Public Health Medicine specialists beyond the urban environment.
‘This would ensure the production of medical professionals who are better equipped to understand and manage the primary health needs of South Africans,’ she said.
Naidoo’s research interests involve women’s health and child development, exploring the impact of occupational, and community exposures on women’s reproductive health. ‘Exposures in the pre-natal and natal phases can impact negatively on child development’ she said.
Naidoo is currently part of a working group developing Volume 113 of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monograph on: “Some Organochlorine Insecticides and Some Chlorphenoxy Herbicides”.
Naidoo’s other interest is the health of health care workers as a means of improving public health service delivery. She maintains an interest in the health of healthcare workers with particular emphasis on reducing workplace exposures with a focus on tuberculosis and disability management.
‘We always care for patients but, the question is: who cares for health care professionals?’
She has been funded by various agencies including, The South Africa Netherlands Research Programme on Alternatives in Development (SANPAD), The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and the South African Medical Research Council.
Publication of her research in various international and national peer reviewed journals has highlighted important public health issues in South Africa.
Naidoo has presented at international and national conferences, chaired conference sessions and served on the Scientific Committee for international conferences in her field of expertise.
Through her research activities, she has established a network of international collaboration, which in the past has included the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organisation, and currently includes leading occupational epidemiologists from The Netherlands, United States, France and Southern Africa.
She is currently a member of the Council of the College of Public Health Medicine, in the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa having served previously from 2008 to 2010 and has examined and co-ordinated examinations for the College of Public Health Medicine (Division of Occupational Medicine).
As a graduate of the former University of Natal and UKZN, Naidoo is looking forward to working with colleagues at the University in her new role.