New Development Medical Officer for Occupational and Environmental Health
The UKZN’s School of Nursing and Public Health, Occupational and Environmental Health has welcomed Dr Pheliwe Mazula-Kironde as its new Developmental Medical Officer.
Mazula-Kironde said she was grateful and happy to be associated with UKZN which had a good academic record as well as outstanding research output, ‘It is a great platform for professional development. I am feeling as nervous as can be as I am venturing into the unknown. I have moved from a comfort zone and have to adjust and learn.
‘But if your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough. You have to have absolute conviction in your dreams and believe in yourself,’ she said.
‘My plan is to create more awareness about environmental factors as they impact negatively on our lives if not addressed properly. If we don’t make time to care for our environment, sooner or later we will have to make time to deal with outcomes such as disease and disability, directly or indirectly.’
Mazula-Kironde grew up with a vision of being a doctor with her family engraving in her mind that: ‘You are so clever, you should be a doctor’.
She says she only realised she had a role to play in academia after she experienced challenges in her academic life.
‘A multi-disciplinary approach is essential as we all have a role to play in order to improve the education system at all levels,’ said Mazula-Kironde.
She said Occupational and Environmental Health was in the area of health promotion. ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Having relatives with occupational and residential-related diseases has opened my eyes and this personal experience will continue to be the driving force in my field of study.
‘Research findings inform us about preventive measures for better health outcomes. Absenteeism and diseases which can complicate and lead to disability and death can be prevented or minimised if necessary caution is exercised or routine screening is done. Good health translates into a nation’s productivity, economic growth and development.
She said good working conditions helped maintain a strong workforce and resulted in less compensation for disabilities/deaths. ‘It’s disturbing to lose economically active people as some are breadwinners who leave children behind to struggle when there are identifiable environmental factors that can be modified.’
Mazula-Kironde obtained her MBHCB at Walter Sisulu University and her postgraduate Diploma in HIV/AIDS Management at UKZN.