Health Sciences Academics Present Research in Thailand
Two studies conducted by UKZN academics were applauded by delegates attending the 2015 Public Health Conference in Bangkok, Thailand.
The academics were Discipline of Dentistry Lecturer, Dr Tufayl Muslim, and Discipline of Physiotherapy Lecturer, Mr Siyabonga Kunene.
While working in public hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal, Kunene said he saw that health professionals, especially women, were physically inactive and had unhealthy eating habits. ‘Most health professionals were overweight and tipping towards obesity.’
Kunene said not only were public hospitals lacking in programmes and facilities that were conducive to promoting good health, there was limited research data on the topic.
This prompted Kunene’s study conducted at Estcourt Hospital which confirmed that health professionals involved themselves in low levels of physical activity and poor dietary habits.
‘Health professionals are promoters of health and are supposed to lead by example in matters of health,’ Kunene argued. ‘Employers should seek to eliminate the barriers that discourage physical activity and good dietary habits at the worksite.’
This was the focus of his masters research and he says he intends to design a physical activity and healthy diet programme for health professionals in public hospitals.
‘I’m also embarking on a PhD project to develop a transdisciplinary rehabilitation approach programme for patellofemoral pain syndrome among runners in low socioeconomic communities.’
Muslim’s oral presentation was titled: “The Development and Use of Conceptual Frrameworks in Conducting Cross-National Comparative Policy Analysis of Oral Health Policies”.
‘Health policy analysis aims to explain the interaction between institutions, interests and ideas in the policy process in order to ensure the best possible health outcomes,’ Muslim said.
He explained that cross-national policy analysis of oral health policies could be undertaken using a conceptual framework that allows for lessons to be learned so as to improve policy processes and result in improved population oral health outcomes.
Muslim developed a cross-national oral health policy framework and proposed it for use as a basis to undertake oral health policy analysis of developed and developing countries.
Additionally, the use of a computer forecasting simulation tool (Systems Dynamic Modelling) was proposed in order to determine the applicability of such a tool in policy analysis, resource planning and policy processes.
The results of the study revealed that the proposed policy analysis conceptual framework could be modified and used in the analysis of policy processes, intentions and policy implementation as the policy intentions and the policy implementation processes differ across countries.
‘Undertaking cross-national policy analysis using the developed conceptual framework and modelling tool could result in an improved understanding of the complex policy processes and environments across developed and developing countries,’ Muslim said.
Muslim’s research interests include: research ethics, quality of Higher Education, dental public health and dental emergency medicine.