A group of UKZN Medical students were recently selected to attend the Discovery Health Journalism Media Summit and Awards function in Johannesburg.

The students, who were chosen based on the passion and leadership potential they have shown to transforming South Africa’s health system, are fourth-year student Ms Zuzile Nondumiso Mgenge, Medical Students Christian Fellowship Executive Member and Khayelisha Residence Fellowship Chairperson; third-year student Ms Nobuhle Makhanya, former Happy Valley Clinic Drugs Officer, current Peer Education: Women’s Forum Chairperson and Congella UKZN House Committee member; fourth-year student Ms Nondumiso Carol Mpakama, UKZN Howard/Medical School Sports Union and Sports Development Officer, UKZN Howard/Medical School Dance Club Kit Manager and Expressive Mindz 2017 Public Relations Officer; fourth-year student Ms Zimkhitha Ntozakhe, MSRC Community Development Officer and former Rural Development Club Treasurer; fourth-year student Mr Lindokuhle Ntshangase, MSRC Academic and Transformation Officer, South African Medical Students Association National Secretary and former MSRC Residence Liaison Officer; fourth-year student Mr Siphephelo Ngubo, MSRC Residence Liaison Officer and former Happy Valley Clinic Deputy President; fourth-year student Mr Lwamkelo Mkhize, King Edward Group A Internal Medicine Students Group Representative of and former MSCF Executive Sub-Committee member; fourth-year student Mr Lungelo Sanele Mambane, MSCF Public Relations Officer; and fourth-year student Mr Kapil Narain, South African Medical Students Association National Chairperson, UKZN Golden Key International Honour Society Central President, Amnesty International South Africa NRMSM group President, a CAPRISA research intern, Medsteth Creative Director and UKZN Physicians Society co-founder.

The team, whose trip was sponsored by the Discovery Foundation, were accompanied by the Dean of the School of Clinical Medicine, Professor Ncoza Dlova. The prestigious annual event champions thought leadership in health, healthcare developments and honours health journalists who have excelled in this field of reporting.

Discovery Health CEO, Dr Jonathan Broomberg, delivered an address which highlighted intrinsic aspects of public health and capacity building for doctors and specialists. This was followed by high-calibre presentations on mental health, exercise and technology in medicine.

Guests witnessed a scene from Hollywood as the Founder and Group Chief Executive of Discovery Limited, Mr Adrian Gore, entered the room – his face digitised on an LED screen that was hooked up to a robot controlled all the way from New York- which zealously greeted the crowd.

There was also a panel discussion involving Dlova; Dr Maurice Goodman, Discovery Chief Medical Officer and Trustee; as well as Frere Hospital CEO, Dr Rolene Wagner. The stimulating debate was on pertinent subjects involving women empowerment and mental health as well as the mechanisms by which public-private partnerships may prove to be beneficial to healthcare workers.

A networking opportunity allowed the UKZN team to interact with journalists, specialists, academics and fellow students from other medical schools as well as the South African Depression and Anxiety Group.

Delegates were also introduced to the Discovery Foundation Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Award 2018 winner, Dr Salome Maswime who is a UKZN alumnus.

The Discovery Health Journalism Awards were also announced during the event. The awards have over the past nine years recognised top health journalists for their visionary and hard-hitting impact.

‘I would firstly like to thank Discovery for the opportunity and Professor Dlova for nominating us for this brilliant experience,’ said Narain. ‘I particularly enjoyed the presentation on the importance of technology in medicine. Artificial intelligence is the future and I believe we need to engage with the subject as deeply as we do with physiology or anatomy. I was happy to observe top notch journalists being celebrated for they are the very individuals who are holding the industry of health accountable,’ he said.

Said Dlova, ‘I think it’s very important for us leaders to expose students to other learning platforms and create opportunities for new knowledge, information exchange and collaboration. Role modelling is very crucial for our youth and we should never underestimate the passive role it plays in inspiring each and every one of us,’ she said.

Words: Kapil Narain

Photograph supplied