UKZN’s School of Health Sciences held an Oath-Taking and Graduation Ceremony for Physiotherapy Technicians at the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH).
Dean of the School of Health Sciences, Professor Sabiha Essack, was on hand to congratulate the graduates and told them: ‘Your achievement is crucial in achieving the Health Millennium Development Goals.’
Physiotherapy’s Head of Discipline, Dr Sonill Maharaj, thanked the graduates for participating in the year-long programme, which is a joint venture between the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health (DoH), UKZN and the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).
Maharaj encouraged the candidates to pursue Physiotherapy degrees: ‘Becoming a Physiotherapy Technician is a step towards a career as a Physiotherapist.’ Maharaj further encouraged them to register with the HPCSA.
Mrs M Mkhize, a retired HR manager form KwaZulu-Natal DoH who initiated the process of the programme between UKZN and the Discipline said: ‘It took a lot of courage to forge a partnership with UKZN due to insufficient funding. It fulfilled one of the five priorities of the government, education. This is a success story of endurance and pursuit of a dream. It is a story of courage to realise a dream in order to support the community. We had a successful partnership with UKZN.’
To become a professional comes with responsibility, she warned the graduates. ‘Long learning is essential in order to remain an expert in your field of study. South Africa needs you all.’ She said as she wished them all the best.
Dr R Mthethwa, Director of chronic diseases from KwaZulu-Natal DoH encouraged the candidates to continue to develop themselves through learning. ‘Patients are a lot more informed these days as they are the ones living with the disease at all times. They can tell you more and sometimes better about their condition. As a health professional you need to know your limits and refer accordingly,’ he added.
The class of 2014 class representative, Mr Senzo Khoza said the course helped them as a group to realise their dreams. He thanked the supervisors and hospitals that participated in their training. ‘This was not an easy road for us, some of us are grandparents and we had to persevere a number of trials.’
GJ Crookes Hospital’s Physiotherapy Assistant, Mr Sizwe Shangase said: ‘It’s been a long and exciting journey. I am looking forward to the next step. I am still young, I plan to do my Physiotherapy degree if the DoH allows me.’
Madadeni Hospital’s MR Mandla Dlamini said he was happy about his achievement. ‘It was a long road to this achievement. It took me longer than I anticipated.’
Niemeyer Memorial Hospital’s Mr Sphiwe Guquka said: ‘I would love to pursuit a Physiotherapy degree, but due to financial constraints I cannot.’
Edendale Hospital’s Mrs Mildred Miya said: ‘I am glad it is over. The course was difficult, too much work over a short period.’ Miya is planning to take a little break and focus on her new qualification before deciding on what to do next. ‘I have learnt a lot in the past year. The site visits were very fruitful,’ she added.
The course participants visited a number of hospitals in the Durban area; Addington Hospital, King Edward VIII Hospital, Mahatma Ghandi Hospital and Clairwood Hospital.
Prince Mshiyeni Hospital’s Nomvula Khumalo enrolled for the course in 2011 December. She said she was devastated when she failed the first year: ‘I was devastated but I decided to pick myself up and go back again. I am over the moon now. When I failed I was traumatised, so when I repeated the course I was worried because I had no idea why I failed the first time.’ Khumalo has been a Physiotherapy Assistant since 1998.
The course has been discontinued.