UKZN Medical Students Assist on Health Day
First, second and fourth year Medical students together with their final year Dentistry colleagues screened about 100 people for diabetes mellitus, hypertension, TB, and HIV and provided education on oral health and general hygiene practices as their contribution on Health Day.
The students, all members of UKZN Friends of Médecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) (FoMSF), hosted a Health Day community outreach initiative for Mayville and Cato Manor communities.
The students worked in collaboration with the NGO, iThemba Lethu, the UKZN HIV/AIDS Programme and the Dentistry Discipline of UKZN’s Westville campus to deliver a quality service to the community.
They provided folk with free health packs which included toothpaste, a toothbrush, soap, Dettol, Vaseline and tissues. Referrals were made to the Cato Manor clinic for further management.
Chairperson of the UKZN FoMSF, Ms Lisha Jeena, said the students were thrilled to engage with the community and to practise the skills they had learned on campus.
The screening was opened to all persons aged 18 and above. Younger people attended oral health and hygiene clinics.
Mr Andile Simelane of the iThembalethu organisation praised the students’ initiative and said he hoped he could continue to collaborate with them in bringing health services closer to the people and at their convenience. ‘We have always wanted to do this kind of initiative and this collaboration is working well for us,’ said Simelane.
Medical student and UKZN FoMS Fexecutive member, Ms Carmen Karina de Melo, said: ‘We are happy about the turn out because we worked hard to make the event a success. The team worked very well and we are happy that the community appreciated our presence.’
Jeena said: ‘We strive to enrich and empower ourselves and our community through sharing and engaging with health-related issues and responding to the health needs of our community.’
She said the initiative was inspired by the Cato Crest community and a call by the sisters at the Cato Manor clinic. ‘We decided to organise a community outreach initiative to target the “BIG 5 of Health Care”.’
The team acknowledged its sponsors: the South African Medical Association (SAMA); the UKZN Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine Skills Department; SPAR and the UKZN College of Health Science’s staff and students.
‘We look forward to expanding our outreach through bigger and bolder events,’ Jeena said.