Study Develops Tool to Assist Traditional Health Practitioners
The findings of Dr Pharm Eben’s PhD study led to the development of a standardised tool to assist traditional health practitioners (THPs) to manage diabetes and hypertension.
Supervised by Professor Manimbulu Nlooto, the study surveyed Zulu and Tswana traditional health practitioners’ perspectives on the management of diabetes and hypertension.
This comparative cross-sectional descriptive study that employed a mixed-method approach was conducted in KwaZulu-Natal and North West province.
It aimed to affirm evidence-based practice to determine whether THPs in two diverse backgrounds adopted similar approaches.
‘The findings led to the development of the standardised tool which will assist THPs to manage diabetes and hypertension,’ said Eben.
‘This is ground-breaking research in the field of African traditional medicine, and the first such tool to be developed.’
Five manuscripts emanated from the thesis, four of which have been published, with one under review in an accredited journal. The study won several awards including the best poster presentation at the Korean Society of Nephrology Conference in Seoul in 2019.
Eben also received a travel grant to present at the annual Molecular Biology Society Conference of Japan in Fukuoka in December 2019.
‘The motivation to achieve the ultimate in any field regardless of the challenges one faced kept me going. The difficulties I faced in the thesis proposal writing helped me to learn about research which helped to achieve my PhD,’ said Eben.
‘Sometimes facing challenges at the outset makes room for improvement. It kills complacency and sets you on the right path and when you find your feet in the research space, the passion to learn, coupled with good supervision and consultations with experts in the field produces a quality dissertation,’ he added.
Eben is currently the CEO of his pharmaceutical consultancy firm, Theorikem Altermedico Pharma Consultancy Services.
His future plans include assisting UKZN to come up with innovative ideas to maintain its position as the Premier University of African Scholarship.
Eben described himself as a hardworking young researcher with strong Christian values. His father is a retired high school principal and his mother was a trader at a local market in the Brong-Ahafo region of Ghana.
A pharmacist by profession, Eben is the last born in a family of six siblings, three boys and three girls.
He was actively involved in Model UN activities around the globe, and served as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) chair during the Zurich International University Model UN conference held in Zurich in 2017.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini