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Children returning to school – the new normal returning to school – the new normalProf Shaheen Mehtar<p>As learners are returning to South African schools in increasing numbers, Prof Shaheen Mehtar, an infection prevention control specialist who is involved in the Global Health Department of Stellenbosch University's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences as well as the Infection Control African Network, provides guidelines for parents and learners.<br></p><p><strong>Information for parents:</strong></p><ul><li><p>Although children are at a lower risk of COVID-19 infection, and if it does occur it is usually a mild infection, children should still follow infection control measures and they can carry the virus and infect others that are more vulnerable to the disease.</p></li><li><p>Prepare your children: Explain that the behavior in schools has changed so that they and their friends can be safe.</p></li><li><p>Check your children's health every day and do not send them to school if they are unwell. </p></li></ul><p><strong>Do's</strong> </p><p>1.      Children should follow the regulations around mask wearing prescribed by their school or the Department of Education.</p><p>2.      Children with disabilities such as deafness or autism might prefer face shields. Evidence about the use of shields is not very clear, but it does offer protection against droplets. </p><p>3.      Hand hygiene – ­washing or using a sanitizer ­– should be practised as often as possible, particularly after using the toilet.</p><p>4.      Children should try to keep a distance from friends when playing, although this is difficult for them.</p><p>5.      Children should keep a safe distance when in class.</p><p>6.      They should wipe their desks frequently with a damp cloth and allow it to dry.</p><p>7.      It is recommended that books are covered with a laminate which can be wiped down frequently.</p><p>8.      Children should keep their phones in a small Ziploc bag and not take it out unless absolutely necessary.</p><p>When travelling home on public transport children should: </p><ul><ol><li><p>Sit near a window if possible and keep the window open</p></li><li><p>Maintain a safe distance from the person next to them</p></li><li><p>Not shout or jump up and down</p></li><li><p>Keep their bags in their laps, if possible<br><br></p></li></ol></ul><p>9.      When your child gets home, take off the cloth mask immediately and drop it in soap and water to wash, dry and iron. </p><p>10.   Their hands and faces should be washed immediately, and let them take a shower if possible.</p><p>11.   Let them change out their uniforms and drop it in a plastic bag to be washed.</p><p>12.   They should change into other clothes.</p><p>13.   Wipe their books, laptop and other items with an alcohol swab.</p><p><strong>Don'ts</strong></p><p>14.   No hugging or close contact with friends – with or without masks.</p><p>15.   No sharing of food, toys, phones or equipment with friends at school.</p><p>16.   No touching of the face to adjust the mask if possible – it should be done before leaving home.</p><p>17.   No playing of contact sports unless it is well regulated – the school will advise.</p><p>18.   When picking up the children, don't hug or kiss them until it is safe to do so at home.</p><p>19.   Don't forget to clean their phones and other articles once they get home.</p><p><strong>Other precautions</strong></p><ul><li><p>Disinfection tunnels or spraying of any humans have not been proven to be effective and can aggravate skin and respiratory conditions like asthma in children.</p></li></ul><ul><li><p>If a person at school is found to be Covid-19 positive, don't panic! </p></li><li><p>If the person has not been in contact then you are safe and don't have to worry.</p></li></ul><p>Cleaning and disinfection twice a day is sufficient to keep the school environment clean.<br></p><p><br></p>
Students play an integral role in healthcare delivery: findings from South Africa play an integral role in healthcare delivery: findings from South AfricaIan Couper, Julia Blitz, Susan van Schalkwyk & Jana Müller<p><em>​This article was originally published on </em><a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. Read the full article </em><a href=""><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><em>here</em></span></a><em>.</em></p><p>Reports from around the <a href="">world</a> show that the shortage of health professionals in public healthcare systems will be worsened by the increased demand for health services caused by the <a href="">COVID-19 pandemic</a>. As the pandemic continues to move towards the expected peak, the impact on the provision of healthcare, across all sectors, will be significant.<br></p><p>Research conducted in sub-Saharan Africa <a href="">has shown the valuable role</a> that medical students can play in supporting healthcare delivery. This includes improving the quality of patient care.</p><p>Questions are sometimes raised about whether students in training can be a burden on the health system. A <a href="">Ugandan study</a>, for example, found that some managers believed students were a drain on resources.</p><p>Our view, however, is that undergraduate students training to be health professionals are an untapped resource. We conducted <a href="">research</a> into the issue by exploring the experiences of managers and clinicians with students learning in their health facilities in South Africa.</p><p>We interviewed staff from eight facilities that had been receiving students across a range of medical disciplines for many years. The students have been part of a programme initiated by the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University in the <a href="">1990s</a> to train students to deliver primary healthcare services.</p><p>In the programme, undergraduate health professionals were placed in over 80 rural and urban public health facilities. They worked under the supervision of a clinician already at the facility. These sites included regional and district hospitals, community health centres, clinics, rehabilitation centres, hospices, and other non-governmental organisations. Students came from various disciplines – dietetics, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and speech-language and hearing therapy.</p><p>Our research showed that involving senior health science students in the everyday practice of healthcare had a number of positive outcomes. The students helped address the workload in health facilities and improved the quality of patient care. They increased patient and staff satisfaction and encouraged a learning culture.</p><p><strong>What we found</strong></p><p>Our findings indicate that students can make a major contribution to healthcare, particularly during times such as this.</p><p>The students in the sampled facilities were training in medicine, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and dietetics.</p><p>Staff in the facilities described student involvement as being beneficial to the healthcare service, for both staff and patients. They also said having them there was valuable for the facility itself. Students were described as assisting with workload, increasing patient satisfaction, improving patient care, and enhancing community perceptions of the service.</p><p>The students were also seen to facilitate the development of a learning environment. Examples included stimulating clinicians to keep up to date with evidence, and encouraging the use of current protocols. Individuals experienced greater job satisfaction and personal growth through this engagement. Students were not felt to be a burden.</p><p>But we found that, to get these benefits, students needed to be involved in routine work activities. This gave them the opportunity to learn from everyday practice.</p><p>Other factors that contributed to the students' effectiveness were: their skills and knowledge, their seniority, and clear guidance from the university.</p><p>Our findings echo <a href="">earlier research</a>. A previous <a href="">South African study</a> in rural communities described how healthcare staff, patients and community members all perceived that students provided benefits to healthcare, offering extra hands and easing the patient load.</p><p>In <a href="">Uganda</a>, the contribution of health science students working in peripheral health facilities was highly valued by communities, who saw them as caring, compassionate, and available anytime.</p><p>In <a href="">Sweden</a>, medical students in a hospital previously focused on healthcare delivery improved the learning climate of the organisation and enhanced the structure of the clinical work.</p><p><strong>What next</strong></p><p>Over the last 15 years, South African students have increasingly been drawn into a range of <a href="">training sites</a> outside the central academic hospitals. As a result <a href="">guidelines have been issued</a> on their placement in a wider range of healthcare facilities. These call on higher education institutions and health services to work together in achieving distributed training.</p><p>All health professional students left health service sites when universities went into obligatory recess at the start of the national COVID-19 lockdown. Senior students can't learn in the classroom because their training is very practical. And it hasn't always been straightforward getting them back into their clinical placements.</p><p>Our hope is that healthcare facilities will welcome senior students back into these environments. We also hope the managers of these facilities will actively seek the placement of students. This is particularly true as the country responds to COVID-19.</p><p>In addition, some aspects of healthcare are receiving <a href="">less attention</a> because resources are required to address the pandemic. These include <a href="">TB prevention and case finding</a>, routine under-five <a href="">child health</a> activities, <a href="">support and rehabilitation</a> for people with <a href="">disabilities</a>, and management of <a href="">chronic illnesses</a>.</p><p>Given the current demands on health facility managers and clinicians, universities could valuably remind training partners of the role that students can play in supporting healthcare delivery.</p><p> </p><p><strong><em>About the authors</em></strong></p><p><em>Prof </em><a href=""><em>Ian Couper</em></a><em> is the Director at Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health and Professor of Rural Health in the Department of Global Health, Stellenbosch University</em></p><p><a href=""><em>Jana Müller</em></a><em> is the collaborative care coordinator at Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health, Stellenbosch University</em></p><p><em>Prof </em><a href=""><em>Julia Blitz</em></a><em> is the Vice-Dean: Learning and Teaching at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University</em></p><p><em>Prof </em><a href=""><em>Susan Van Schalkwyk</em></a><em> is the Director of the Centre for Health Professions Education at Stellenbosch University</em><br></p><p><br></p><p><em>Photo caption: An occupational therapy student assists a patient at a health centre in Bishop Lavis.</em><br></p><p><em>Photo credit: Nardus Engelbrecht</em><br></p>
Disinfection tunnels for Covid-19 have negligible benefit and are potentially dangerous tunnels for Covid-19 have negligible benefit and are potentially dangerousShaheen Mehtar, Shabir A Madhi & Marc Mendelson<p><em>​This article was originally published on </em><a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><em class="ms-rteForeColor-9" style="">Daily Maverick</em></a><em>. Read the article </em><a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><em class="ms-rteForeColor-9" style="text-decoration:underline;">here</em></a><em>.</em></p><p><em><br></em></p><p>Having communicated with a number of companies who are marketing and selling these in South Africa, we have yet to get a straight answer regarding what basis they market these products on and what evidence exists on its effectiveness in preventing Covid-19 infection.</p><p>The global Covid-19 pandemic (the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2), has taken many countries by surprise. This is the major pandemic of the 21st Century that has now spread globally across geographic and socio-economic divides. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for calm, and systematic, measured responses to dealing with Covid-19 at the country level, however, fear and uncertainty persists in most societies.</p><p>The key challenge faced by all countries is slowing the rate of transmission of the virus to mitigate the overwhelming of health services. In the absence of vaccines or other therapeutics, the only armament available to us to do so are simple, evidence-based non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). These include hand hygiene, social distancing and universal masking.</p><p>Unfortunately, this is being superseded by fear, stigma and the introduction of practices, which do not have significant effects on preventing virus transmission and may be harmful to the public. One such, is the use of disinfection tunnels.</p><p>Often driven by fractured knowledge, mixed messages, profit-driven advertising campaigns based on half-truths, and misinformation on risk perception via social media, commercial companies are capitalising and marketing costly disinfection tunnels at a variety of venues – as well as proposing indiscriminate fumigation of places.</p><p>The concept of spraying chemicals arose from vector control programmes, which use extensive spraying of waterways and homes to kill mosquitoes and other vectors during outbreaks of malaria, Zika, yellow fever and Dengue. While mosquitoes were effectively controlled, widespread spraying was stopped because of its detrimental effect on human health and the environment.</p><p>Fast forward to 2014 and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Led by fear and panic, chlorine spraying of the population, including healthcare workers (HCWs), was widely introduced in affected countries while in others, including South Africa (SA), spraying was part of the country's infection prevention containment strategy, should Ebola be introduced into the country.</p><p>During the 18-month outbreak in Sierra Leone, damage to the eyes (58%), skin (52%) and respiratory tract (62%) was<a href=""> reported in HCWs</a>. Clinical symptoms increased proportionately to the number of chlorine spray exposures, irrespective of the fact that HCWs were wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) during each spray. For example, in two studies from the US, despite every cleaner using PPE, a higher number of clinical respiratory and other symptoms were reported in those who worked with disinfectants compared with those who did not.</p><p>A disinfection tunnel is a means of spraying the public as it walks through a cubicle or tunnel with a chemical mist of variable composition, aimed at “disinfecting all exposed areas including hands". It appears that the chemical used, its concentration and side effects are kept a secret.</p><p>Having communicated with a number of companies who are marketing and selling these in South Africa, we have yet to get a straight answer regarding what basis they market these products on and what evidence exists on its effectiveness in preventing Covid-19 infection. Trying to get any information from the internet also led to a blank wall because the chemical nature of these compounds or pertinent studies of the effects of these chemicals on the respiratory tract in humans are not available.</p><p>The WHO has very recently<a href=""> published its guidance on environmental disinfection</a> and has condemned all outdoor environmental spraying and human spraying in the strongest possible terms. The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) has not only condemned the practice, but has provided a comprehensive table with side effects of known products used in tunnel sprays for humans.</p><p>A<a href=""> campaign to stop human tunnel spraying</a> has published documentation from ministries of health from 12 countries mainly from Latin America, but also India, Malaysia and Philippines where spraying has been stopped.</p><p>South Africa has a long history of human rights grounded in legislation to protect its citizens. These include the Hazard Substance Act (1973); Occupational Health and Safety Act (1993) and the National Environmental Management Act (1998) to name but a few. It is therefore surprising that a country like South Africa would allow the spraying and misting of humans in public areas without concrete evidence, especially when knowing the mantra that “Covid-19 spreads via the respiratory tract"– we see this every day on the television and other media.</p><p>How then, can citizens of this country be exposed to being sprayed with chemicals without either evaluating the consequences or asking for expert advice on the effect of spraying such chemicals on humans?</p><p>Most worrying of all, we have now received reports of a number of South African private schools who are wanting to introduce such tunnels for learners returning to school. One was planning to use quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs), which are high on the WHO's list of dangerous substances. We have, indeed, gone from the sublime to the ridiculous and without reservation condemn the adoption of such potentially harmful practices.</p><p>Let's get back to basics – focus on the central interventions of social distancing, hand hygiene, universal masking, regular decontamination of surfaces at home and at work, and seeking medical advice if becoming symptomatic while self-isolating. We need to spend more time and money on improved messaging, working with hotspot areas to understand why the message is not getting across, listen to the community and its leaders, and use the ever growing evidence base to inform simple yet robust IPC practices.<br></p><p><strong><br></strong></p><p><strong>About the authors</strong><br></p><p><em>Shaheen Mehtar is Emeritus Professor at Stellenbosch University, specialist in infection prevention and control as well as a founder member and current chair of the Infection Control Africa Network (ICAN). </em></p><p><em>Shabir A. Madhi is Professor of Vaccinology and Director of the MRC Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit,</em><a href=""> <em>University of the Witwatersrand</em></a><em>.</em></p><p><em>Marc Mendelson is Professor of Infectious Diseases and Head of the Division of Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine at Groote Schuur Hospital, University of Cape Town (UCT). He is past-president of the Federation of Infectious Diseases Societies of Southern Africa and past President of the International Society for Infectious Diseases.</em></p><p><br></p><p><em>Image credit: PIXABAY</em><br></p>
‘Everyone can make a difference’‘Everyone can make a difference’Development & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p>​​As a young boy growing up in the Eastern Cape, Sven Weidner always wanted to lend a helping hand to those in need. He believes that no effort is too small to make a change. “It does not always need to be a financial donation; one can also give some of one's time."<br></p><p>Today, this Matie alumnus, who is currently living in London, is all set to raise money for Stellenbosch University's UK/EU Bursary Fund. Sven will embark on a 100-kilometre walk to raise funds and in the process hopes to lose some of his unwanted kilos and to help Matie students in need. </p><p><strong>Please tell us about yourself. </strong></p><p>I am a born-and-bred Eastern Cape boy, first generation, and am passionate about South Africa. My parents emigrated from Germany in the 1960s. We spoke German at home, and I was sent to an Afrikaans school and an English university (then known as UPE). I graduated with a B.Com in 1995. Whilst studying and having to pay university fees, I combined my love for the sea with my lifesaving skills, first as a sport and then as a career, which funded my B.Com. </p><p>In 1995, I joined the Corporate Finance team of First National Bank. Whilst working, I completed a postgraduate Diploma in International Banking. I realised that a career progression would mean having to work in a larger city, and not wanting to work in Johannesburg. In 1998, I left for London with one backpack and £1 000 in my pocket. </p><p>From 1999 to 2000, I worked on international projects in various investment banks, spending a year in Frankfurt, Germany, on a project. However, I did not feel intellectually stimulated and bored and with the intention to surf as much as I did at UPE, I headed to Cape Town in January 2001, enrolled for a full-time MBA at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) and lived in Blouberg. I obtained my MBA degree towards the end of 2004 after completing my MBA thesis.</p><p>After my year at USB, I returned to Europe and worked in various risk management roles, one in Düsseldorf, Germany, were I lived for five years. In Düsseldorf I met my wife, who is also a German-speaking South African, and we shared similar experiences of our hybrid cultures. We relocated to the United Kingdom in 2009 due to a career opportunity and live in Sunny Surrey with our 12-year-old son, nine-year-old daughter and thirteen pets. (9 Khoi fish, one bird , 2 hamsters and one cat)</p><p>I currently work as a senior risk consultant for a large insurance firm, implementing a model risk management (MRM) framework. I am also trying hard – but failing dismally – to complete my doctorate (DBA) in MRM through the Bradford Business School. I plan to graduate in June 2021 but think after that I will stop studying for a bit. Another objective of my mine is learning to speak Italian in this isolation period. </p><p><strong>What is the 100-kilometre challenge, and why are you doing it?</strong></p><p>The challenge serves a twofold purpose: I have gained a nasty 20 kg in weight in the last five years, and last year I joined the Stellies Alumni gatherings. My dear friend Darryn Havenga told me of the current dilemma at Stellenbosch with students sometimes needing to go without food for a day or days. I was shocked to my core and immediately wanted to do something about this and to become more involved in giving to the United Kingdom-registered Stellenbosch University Charity to alleviate this problem.  </p><p><strong>What have you been doing to train for this challenge?</strong></p><p>Isolation has been a blessing in disguise. With more time on our hands, I have become a serial walker. On weekdays, I walk one to two hours every day and on weekends, I walk three to four hours. I recently got lost and ended up walking for five hours as unbeknown to my family, my mobile had run out of battery and they assumed that I had chosen a longer route. I now walk with about two maps when I go on my strolls. </p><p><strong>Do you remember when you first started being philanthropic, and what made you do it?</strong></p><p>Growing up in the 1980s in the Eastern Cape, I experienced very tough times from a political and economic perspective. Hardworking people were laid off due to factories, such as Ford, closing their plants in Port Elizabeth. </p><p>Even as a child, I noticed the suffering and hardship that people and especially children had to endure with entire families not having any food to eat. My giving to others started when I was very young; my mom told me a tale, and when I was 12, I told her that I was going to do something about the poverty in the Eastern Cape. This issue had made me quite sad. My mom started noticing two things happening around the house – we were forever out of tinned food, regardless of how much she bought, and every time the doorbell rang, I would dash to the door to open it. </p><p>I was handing out food cans to people who knew I was donating, and I thought that it did not matter how small my effort was, it would make a change. It did occur to me at the time that the abundance of food cans miraculously never ran out, and it was only after I was 25 that my mom admitted to her buying five times as many food cans than necessary for our own use behind the scenes to sponsor my charitable initiative. </p><p><strong>Do you think people have to be rich in order to be philanthropic?</strong></p><p>No, definitely not. I still think, as I did as that kid handing out the canned food, that everyone can make a difference. No effort is too small to make a change. It does not always need to be a financial donation; one can also give some of one's time, such as mentoring a young Stellies student, for example. I also do all my Amazon purchases via Smile Amazon, and Stellenbosch University Charity receives a percentage of my purchases on Amazon. </p><p><strong>How or where can other Maties help you in achieving your fundraising goal?</strong></p><p>I have set up a 'GoFund me' web page for donations. <strong style="text-decoration:underline;"><a href="">Please click here to read more. ​</a></strong><br></p><p><br></p>
Madelein receives international award receives international awardInnovus <p>​​​Innovus's Director of Technology Transfer, Dr Madelein Kleyn, received a Service Recognition Award for her services to Licensing Executives Society International (LESI), a resource for the members of the licensing profession involved with knowledge transfer between industries and with universities or government bodies. Madelein is the President of LES SA.<br></p><p>The society is a non-profit organisation that aims to encourage high professional standards among individuals engaged in the transfer and licensing of technology, to assist the members in improving their skills and techniques in licensing through self-education; attending educational activities; and through their exchange of information, both personally and by way of publications. LES informs the public, the business community, and governmental and international bodies about the economic significance of technology licensing and the importance of high standards required in the field and make available to its members the latest, most accurate information on the subject of technology licensing.</p><p>Under Madelein's presidency, the activities of LES SA were acknowledged and recognised.  For the first time in the history of LES SA, the national society was nominated for two awards:  The Most Progressive Society of the Year and Society of the Year award.  LES SA received the most progressive society of the year award.</p><p>Under her leadership, LES SA established a Young Member Committee, Life Science Committee and an Education Committee – each being chaired by LES SA Board members.  The society also offered various advanced licensing training courses which Madelein, together with other trainers from LES SA, presented all across South Africa.</p><p>Madelein serves on the LESI Education Committee, the LESI leadership Management Committee and Co-Chair the LESI Technology and Patent Licensing Committee.​<br><br></p>
COVID-19: Digitising ICU improves patient care while protecting healthcare staff Digitising ICU improves patient care while protecting healthcare staffWilma Stassen<p>An ambitious digitisation project that will not only improve the care of seriously ill COVID-19 patients, but also reduce the risk of infection to hospital staff, is being launched at Cape Town's Tygerberg Hospital.<br></p><p>The digitisation of the hospital's COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) will do away with paper-based patient records that have to be manually captured by the patients' bedside, and replace it with a new digital system relying on cameras and computer tablets used to monitor patients' vitals.</p><p>“Built on the strong partnership between Stellenbosch University and Western Cape Provincial Health the project will contribute to improved care for patients with COVID-19, as well as a safer working environment for health care workers in the ICU environment. This is an investment whose benefits will continue to be felt long after the current pandemic has abated," says Prof Jimmy Volmink, Dean at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), at Stellenbosch University (SU). The FMHS is a close partner organisation of Tygerberg Hospital and has been instrumental in the conception and funding of the project.<br></p><p>“This is an exciting, innovative example how SU's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences is in the vanguard of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic delivering quality care and improving outcomes. It is also a quintessential embodiment of SU's social impact and relevance," says SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers. </p><p>“With the impending surge of COVID-19 cases, Tygerberg Hospital's resources will undoubtedly be under huge pressure, and clinicians and nursing staff will face an increased risk of infection," says Professor Nico Gey van Pittius, Vice Dean: Research and Internationalisation, FMHS.<br></p><p>Tygerberg Hospital was the first designated COVID-19 hospital in the Western Cape Province, and is presently dealing with a high service load of COVID-19 infections, including patients needing critical care. Consequently, relatively high rates of infections have occurred among the facility's staff – as of June, more than 200 health workers at Tygerberg Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19. </p><p>“Looking after the safety of our staff is a crucial priority for hospital management. This technology will further enable us to reduce the risks to staff members working in the critical care (ICU and High Care) environment, and it is a significant step forward," says Dr Dimitri Erasmus, CEO of Tygerberg Hospital.</p><p>Ventilation of COVID-19 patients requires specialised knowledge of ventilation physiology and critical care experience. At Tygerberg, this is only held by a small number of intensive care specialists (intensivists). Tygerberg also services the ICU needs of district and regional hospitals including Paarl, Khayelitsha, Helderberg (Somerset West) and Worcester. ICU care requires continuous updates on patients' vital signs, which, at the moment are being captured onto a paper-based system through a labour-intensive process that also holds a potential risk of infection for healthcare workers at the patient's bedside.</p><p>Tygerberg Hospital recently acquired two 'infection-resistant robot nurses', called Quintin and Salma, who are already assisting intensivists with ward rounds in the COVID-19 ICU. The digitisation project will be an expansion of Quintin and Salma's work and will further decrease the risk of contamination and infection, while also increasing capacity, reach and effectiveness of medical and nursing staff.</p><p>“The safety of hospital staff is our top priority, and although staff are geared with PPE (personal protective equipment), it is only comfortable to wear for up to 45 minutes. It is cumbersome to put on and to remove, and thus takes up time. In reducing paperwork, nursing capacity will be freed up to focus on providing high-quality nursing care to patients," explains Dr Brian Allwood, an intensivist working in Tygerberg Hospital's COVID-19 critical care wards, and is also one of the leads on the digitisation project. “If paper is replaced by digital record-keeping, it is estimated that the ICU could improve staff infection control by up to 50%." </p><p>The new digital system will capture patient and specialist data through the use of cameras, tablet computers, and voice and electronic notes onto a central database that will enable specialists to monitor patients remotely (rather than at the bedside) and thus potentially care for a larger number of patients. With this technology, doctor capacity can also in effect be increased as intensivists can even monitor patients from home, which allows them to continue this critical work while self-isolating or to employ retired doctors with the necessary skills to remotely monitor patients and ventilator readings.</p><p>In future, this system could be expanded for monitoring of patients in external or rural hospitals without staff expertise or capacity to do so and could continue after the pandemic.</p><p>Another positive spin-off of installing cameras at COVID-19 ICU beds is that it could potentially facilitate video calls between patients and their families. “Patients in COVID-19 wards are completely isolated from their loved ones and can experience loneliness. Video calls with friends and family once patients are stable and on the road to recovery will offer a big boost to patients' well-being and morale," says Allwood.</p><p>This crucial project was made possible by a grant provided by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. This philanthropic non-profit organisation has committed $100 million to help communities across the world fight COVID-19.</p><p>“COVID-19 has created a medical emergency that is requiring healthcare institutions to quickly develop new and innovative ways to keep their staff, patients, and families safe. We're grateful to work alongside our partners as they confront new challenges every day, tirelessly fighting the virus," says Dr Thashlin Govender, program director, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation South Africa. </p><p>While the R1.8 million grant from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation has enabled the critical first level digitisation of the COVID-19 ICU at Tygerberg Hospital, a further R2.9 million is required for the technology upgrade in the ward and the integrated remote teaching and learning platform.<br></p>
Springboks, alumni and supporters raise funds with #Train4Fees, alumni and supporters raise funds with #Train4FeesDevelopment & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p><em></em></p><p>Maties Sport and the Development and Alumni Relations Division (DAR) at Stellenbosch University (SU) have launched a 2-month fundraising campaign – #Train4Fees – to help student-athletes in need of financial assistance to pay for their study fees in these difficult COVID times.</p><p>Since 1 June, the #Train4Fees campaign, hosted on <a href=""><strong></strong></a><strong>,</strong> has gone live on the GivenGain donating platform with financial and training support not only from Maties alumni but also ordinary South Africans – here and abroad. <br><br>Notably, ex-Maties Sport players, the Stormers and Springboks Pieter-Steph du Toit, Breyton Paulse and Schalk Brits have posted their support for #Train4Fees. In the customary fashion of less talk, more action, lock and flanker, Du Toit said, “I'm happy to support the #Train4Fees campaign by Maties."<br><br>South Africa's favourite Koue Bokkeveld wing, Breyton Paulse, similarly offered his support in a #Train4Fees Appeal on YouTube by commenting, “This is a difficult and tough COVID time."<br><br>Springbok hooker Schalk Brits makes up the trio of Springboks lending their support to #Train4Fees. “Let's raise funds and help people that need it more than us," Britz said recently. <br><br>It's not only those Maties rugby players in a dire financial position that will benefit from the fundraising campaign – all Maties Sport disciplines are targeted with soccer, cricket, netball and hockey making up the suite of donation portals on GivenGain. <br><br>According to Ilhaam Groenewald, Chief Director for Maties Sport, “Here at Stellenbosch University and Maties Sport our student-athletes demonstrate that high-level participation in university sport runs side by side with the educational mission of a university of excellence. And we continue to deliver outstanding teams and garner individual achievements, just like our Maties Sport alumni did."<br><br>Athletics, swimming, tennis, parasport, gymnastics, Taekwondo – in fact, in all Maties Sport disciplines where student-athletes require financial assistance, would ultimately benefit from the funds raised.<br><br><strong>For each kilometre funds will be raised</strong><br><br>The public is asked to either donate funds to the various fundraisers or to join the campaign by running, cycling, skateboarding, power walking – whatever fitness training they enjoy. They can also show their support by signing up to become a fundraiser for #Train4Fees and raise funds or <em>every km they crush</em>. <br><br>Regarding the #Train4Fees campaign, Groenewald said, “A major effort in 2020 and beyond is working with the University's Development and Alumni Relations Division and various stakeholders towards achieving better success with our fundraising opportunities."<br><br>Currently, the number of registered fundraisers is 67<strong> </strong>and the overall amount raised by the #Train4Fees fundraising campaign is R123,500 with R1,200,000 as target when the campaign draws to a close on 31 July 2020. <br><br>According to Hans Scriba, Fundraising Manager for Maties Sport at DAR, sport players are generally competitive. He commented after the support shown by over one hundred Maties Sport coaches and players. “Several sports coaches, players and volunteer supporters have already registered. We will work hard to extend and widen this giving network by reaching out and involving the vast Maties alumni family." <br><br>Scriba, a former Maties and Western Province utility back, is also taking part in the #Train4Fees campaign, “I have done 58km over the first ten days for this very worthwhile cause – only 192 to go! Thank you for the great support so far." <br><br>Maties hockey player, Ru Baker, hailing from Ocean View, Bluff in KwaZulu-Natal, is at present, one of the top #Train4Fees fundraisers with an amount of R10,700. </p><ul><li>#Train4Fees on Maties Alumni website: <a href=""><strong></strong></a></li><li>#Train4Fees on GivenGain website: <a href=""><strong></strong></a><br></li></ul><p><br></p>
Chanine believes in paying it forward believes in paying it forwardDevelopment & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p>Stellenbosch University (SU) alumni never fail to impress with their commitment to making life better for others and their loyalty to their alma mater. <br></p><p>One such Matie is Chanine Klomp, who has made a generous donation to SU's recently launched <a href="">COVID‑19 Relief Fund</a>. Chanine, who currently works in London as a programme manager at Facebook, has asked that her donation be used in any of the five focus areas identified by the University. </p><p>These areas include <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;">broadening digital access to bridge the digital divide, </a>creating <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;">food security via our #Move4Food campaign</a><span style="text-decoration:underline;">, </span><a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;">providing support for SU's healthcare workers</a> on the frontlines of the pandemic, providing <span style="text-decoration:underline;">s</span><a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;">upport for our researchers</a> and helping the <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;">broader Stellenbosch community</a><span style="text-decoration:underline;">.</span></p><p>We got to know Chanine a little better.</p><p><strong>Tell us more about yourself.</strong></p><p>I had the privilege of growing up surrounded by the Stellenbosch mountains. I started my schooling at Laerskool Stellenbosch, moved on to Hoër Meisieskool Bloemhof and finished as a Matie in 2012 when I received my Bachelor's in Industrial Engineering. The years that I spent in Stellenbosch as a Matie (2009–2012) are definitely the highlight of my life as I made lifelong friends and learned so much academically and socially<em>.</em></p><p><strong>What kind of work do you do?</strong></p><p>I started my career as a process engineer at Deloitte Consulting in Johannesburg. Deloitte provided me with a great opportunity to do a secondment in Scotland for a year. After Scotland, I decided to continue living on this side of the world as it was so much more accessible and affordable to travel and explore the world from this side. Therefore, I moved to Dublin where I worked for Deloitte Consulting in Ireland for three years. At the start of this year, I moved to London to work for Facebook as a programme manager in the Business Planning and Operations Department. Facebook is an amazing company to work for and really cares about its employees and the community. </p><p><strong>Why do you donate? </strong></p><p>Donating is something that I see as a necessity for ensuring that more people can receive the opportunities that I had growing up. The majority of my donations are for organisations in South Africa as it remains my home and the need is just so great. Donating is my way of not running away from all the problems that our country is facing but rather helping to build our country through equipping our people and organisations who are fighting to break the poverty cycle. It is a bit like paying it forward if I give time or money to people to enable them to look after their families and communities. </p><p><strong>How long have you been a donor?</strong></p><p>I would say that I have given back in various forms, in terms of both money and time. While living in Johannesburg, I donated my time to two Grade 11 boys from Alexandra township to provide motivation and support through their last two school years. Throughout the time that I spent with them, I could really see how the boys' confidence and hope of a better future grew as they previously had not really seen a future beyond school. Both the boys matriculated with high marks and are graduating this year. I have always donated money here and there but really started to donate this year to various charities in South Africa, including the Red Cross and Stellenbosch University. I soon realised that the pound-to-rand exchange went a long way and could make a major difference to the lives of people in South Africa.</p><p><strong>Why did you choose to support Stellenbosch University now?</strong></p><p>I believe in the power of education as it will enable more people to have the opportunities that I had and to earn enough money to look after themselves and their families or communities. </p><p><strong>Will you encourage others to donate as well?</strong></p><p>Yes, I always encourage others to donate and have arranged two charity pub quizzes for my niece who has special needs, which has taught me that every bit helps and that people are really caring and giving! This is something that I learnt from the Irish as well as that there is constantly a charity to support. </p><ul style="list-style-type:disc;"><li><a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>Click here</strong></a><span style="text-decoration:underline;"> </span>for more on the University's COVID-19 response.</li></ul><p> <br></p><p><br></p>
SU alumni make an impact during pandemic alumni make an impact during pandemicAsiphe Nombewu /Corporate Communication<p>An application and system developed by a current student and four alumni from Stellenbosch University (SU) will help non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to deliver aid where it is needed most. <br></p><p>Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, the team of entrepreneurs were approached by Stellenbosch Unite, a collaborative aid action purposed to provide social support to vulnerable community members during the pandemic. The initiative brings together Stellenbosch Municipality, Stellenbosch University, Visit Stellenbosch (civil society), Ranyaka and SCAN (Stellenbosch Civil Advocacy Network representing the non-profit sector) and the Greater Stellenbosch Development Trust (administrators).</p><p>Wihan Bekker, a master's student in Civil Engineering, and alumni Dr Patrick Okonkwo, Riaan Truter and Jean Pierre du Plessis are the developers of the Stellenbosch Unite App. The app, which is only available to Stellenbosch Unite staff and volunteers, was developed to help sign up new beneficiaries digitally and to minimise the use of pen and paper. </p><p>The 25-year-old says data capturing is essential for the efficient operation of any community aid initiative. “We developed a database that handles logistics, inventory tracking and the capturing of beneficiaries for the Stellenbosch Unite Network.</p><p> “After signing beneficiaries up on the app, we process the data and currently we have registered 9 000 families. We also use the system to track inventory from bulk donations, volunteers' donations and food bought with monetary donations," he adds.</p><p>He says the NGOs needed assistance in keeping track of the beneficiaries on their lists and identifying duplications. This led to the development of the user-friendly app for use by volunteers and local coordinators who are able to work on smartphones.<br></p><p> “My team and I were quick to bring our skills to the cause to ensure the aid is delivered where it is needed most. This work is very important to us, and our partnership with Ranyaka proved to be invaluable, as it  meant we understood the local networks to ensure that the most vulnerable beneficiaries are assisted during this time, making the COVID-19 relief efforts efficient and effective," says Bekker, who is also the CEO at African Data Technologies .</p><p>“Dr Okonkwo completed both his master's and PhD in Engineering at SU and Du Plessis also did his undergraduate studies and his master's in Law at SU. We are entrepreneurs who are highly motivated by the social issues facing our country. The core function of our company is to capture and validate data and this is why we offered our services during this time.</p><p> Bekker's dream is to grow African Data Technologies into becoming a leader in implementing data-driven solutions that have a measurable and transformative impact on social and environmental issues as they continue to grow the business. </p><p>Dr Leslie Van Rooi, Senior Director for Social Impact and Transformation at SU, says the University is proud to support the work that Stellenbosch Unite is doing in the larger Stellenbosch community. “We do so through financial contributions, volunteering and lobbying. It is fantastic to see how our town is rallying to support those directly and indirectly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic," he adds.</p><p>NGOs can get in touch with them by following the link: <a href=""></a></p><p> </p><p>'<br></p>
"My passion is teaching deaf children""My passion is teaching deaf children"Transformation Office | Disability Unit | AfriNEAD<p><em>​​​​​SU's Rector and Vice-chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers announced late last year that 2020 will be the university's Year for Persons with Disability. It will culminate in the sixth African Network for Evidence-to-Action in Disability (AfriNEAD) conference, a prestigious international network that will be hosted by SU from the 30 November to 3 December 2020. To honour this the Transformation Office and the Disability Unit, along with AfriNEAD, will publish monthly reflections or articles by persons with disabilities. Our fourth piece is written by Ilze Aaron, a student at Stellenbosch University, who is studying towards a BEd in the Faculty of Education.  </em><br></p><p><em><br></em></p><p>I am Ilze Aaron, and I am 22 years old. I come from Paarl. When I was about 9 or 10 years old, my aunt noticed that my speech was different and at her suggestion, my mom took me to Tygerberg Hospital to have the necessary hearing tests done. It was confirmed that I had hearing loss. Two days after the news, my mom went back to the doctor and asked him what she could do to help me. He suggested that I wore hearing aids to improve what hearing I had left. </p><p>The moment that I put the hearing aids on, I was amazed that I could hear everything around me, the wind blowing and the birds singing. It was a big challenge and a huge adjustment for me, but without my mom, I would have lost all hearing and speech and I am forever grateful to her. She spent hours teaching me how to pronounce words until I got it right. She tried to make my life as 'normal' as possible.</p><p>I started my school years at Nederburg Primary School and then attended Labori High School in Paarl. I stayed until Grade 8 where my classes consisted of about 30 learners. The teacher made me sit in the front row in class so that I could try to lipread her, but I could never participate – I could not follow the class. </p><p>We then found out about De la Bat School for the Deaf, and in 2012 I moved schools. The new challenge was that I had no knowledge of sign language. I had to take extra classes after school to learn South African Sign Language (SASL) for three months so that I could communicate with my fellow learners. Fortunately, I got the hang of it fairly quickly. Towards the end of my schooling, I even started helping out as interpreter between our teacher and my fellow learners in class, because the teacher could not use SASL fluently enough for them to understand her.</p><p>After matric I worked as a teacher's assistant at Dominican Wittebome School for the Deaf where I learned a great deal about being a teacher for deaf children. One day out of the blue, I was contacted by De la Bat School to ask whether I would be interested in applying to study at Stellenbosch University. Initially I was unsure, but after giving it some thought, I realised that I had to grab this opportunity and I sent in my application. I did not tell anyone that I had applied, and for a few months I did not even check my emails thoroughly. Then I found an old unread email from Stellenbosch University congratulating me on being accepted to the BEd 2017 programme! I could not believe what I was reading! I could not wait to tell my family about this new reality waiting for me. </p><p>In preparation of becoming a Matie, I had to attend a meeting during which I had to indicate my specific communication needs in order to attend classes. This was a big new world for me, and the adjustment was going to be huge! At this meeting, I was blessed to meet my friend Imran Bodalaji, another deaf student who would also be studying BEd with me, and suddenly I did not feel alone anymore. At this meeting, I also experienced my first encounter with an SASL interpreter and was pleasantly surprised. </p><p>Our first day of class was difficult for Imran and me. We got lost all the time and had no clue where to be for classes. We were also unsure of how we would communicate with the other students in our classes. Our thanks go to the Disability Unit and the Language Centre for providing us with SASL interpreters who made it easy for us to bridge the communication divide. The interpreters were there from the start, making sure that we had access to lectures and learning material, and knowing that I was being included made me feel good. Moving from a deaf environment to a world where everyone could hear certainly was a big adjustment.</p><p>Some students took the initiative and used their phones or pen and paper to communicate with us while others came up to us after class, asking where they could learn SASL, and I was pleased to tell them that an SASL module was available in the Faculty of Education. They were always surprised to hear my voice when I spoke to them. Imran and I also worked as tutors for the SASL module for a while, and when a stranger greeted me in my own language outside of class, it made me feel so good. If people could not sign yet, they stopped us and asked us how to sign a greeting or something else. </p><p>My passion is teaching deaf children so that they can receive an education in their own language from another deaf person and being role model for them. I want to inspire them and make sure that they know they can fulfil their dreams, no matter who or what they are. I decided that I would rise above my circumstances and that no matter what, I would bring about change in my deaf community. I cannot wait to graduate just to prove that deaf people also have dreams and that we can achieve anything that we set our minds to.<br></p><p><br></p>