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UKZN Academic Scoops 2015 Emerging Public Health Practitioner Award

October 22, 2015

Mrs Verusia Chetty. 
UKZN Physiotherapy lecturer, Mrs Verusia Chetty, will be flown to Pretoria to attend the launch of two prestigious 2014/15 publications after winning the Health Systems Trust’s (HST) 2015 Emerging Public Health Practitioner Award (EPHPA).

Chetty’s submission, “A Model of Care for the Rehabilitation of People Living with HIV in a Semi-Rural South African setting”, was selected as the winning chapter for 2015 earning her a cash prize and the opportunity to meet senior research staff at HST to discuss areas for future interaction and collaboration.

Chetty said the South African Health Review (SAHR), in which her study will be published, was a flagship journal. ‘To have been selected as the winner is an amazing accomplishment and huge step for me.  It places me in a good position to advocate for the rehabilitation of people living with HIV (PLHIV).

‘I am exhilarated and am still in shock. It’s exciting times for Physiotherapy and the UKZN College of Health Sciences’ team.’

During its 17-year history, the SAHR has become HST’s flagship publication, and in 2013 was accredited by the Department of Higher Education and Training as a peer-reviewed journal. It is frequently quoted as an authoritative reference work in South Africa and abroad.

The EPHP Award is offered to South African candidates under the age of 35 who submit a chapter dealing with public health or policy in the country.

The winning submission had to be relevant to the local and international public health community and current policy environment in South Africa; have scientific rigour and intellectual clarity; have a degree of innovation and originality, and identify good practices and hindrances to policy implementation as well as possible implications for policy reform.

‘The chapter I wrote was a culmination of my PhD which was quite a journey,’ Chetty said. ‘In my PhD I present a model of care for the rehabilitation of people living with HIV and experiencing disabilities. Under supervision of Ms Jill Hanass-Hancock of HEARD and Ms Hellen Myezwa of Wits, I wrote up my results and had to dig deep to place my findings into a South African policy perspective.

‘It took perseverance but I was satisfied with the end result. It gives me a platform to share the results and promote improving the rehabilitation service delivery to the PLHIV sector,’ said Chetty.

Chetty was recently funded by the College of Health Sciences Competitive Research Grant to attend and present at the 12th International AIDSImpact Conference in Holland. She also presented her findings at the Public Health Association of South Africa 2015 Conference in Durban.

Chetty said she was looking forward to attending the combined launch of SAHR 2014/15 and District Health Barometer 2014/15 where the keynote address will be given by Director-General of the National Department of Health, Ms Malebona Precious Matsoso.

Lunga Memela

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