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Cooperation is crucial for tackling health challengeshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9601Cooperation is crucial for tackling health challengesFMHS Marketing & Communications / FGGW Bemarking & Kommunikasie – Sue Segar<p>Not only does Africa - with its limited resources - bear a disproportionately large burden of infectious- and non-communicable diseases and injuries, but it is also more vulnerable to the impact from disasters linked to climate change, such as flooding, droughts and fires, which are largely brough on by developed nations.<br></p><p>This was one of the key points highlighted at the recent Stellenbosch University-Consortium of Universities for Global Health Hybrid Conference 2022.<br></p><p>This was the first joint conference between Stellenbosch University (SU) and the American-based Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) to be hosted in Africa, and the theme was 'Catalysing Global Health Innovations for Sustainable Development'. It featured a number of international researchers, practitioners and students, representing a range of health-related disciplines. There were a number of keynote addresses, panels and workshops, as well as research paper and poster presentations relating to global health.<br></p><p>The first two days of the conference were held virtually, while the last three days took place in person in Stellenbosch.<br></p><p>Professor Taryn Young, Executive Head of the Department of Global Health at SU's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), who was involved in organising the conference, said it attracted a number of people, from local and regional academic and health entities.<br></p><p>The conference came about through the long-term partnership between SU and CUGH. CUGH's mission is to support academic institutions and partners to improve the wellbeing of people and the planet through education, research, service, and advocacy.<br></p><p>The FMHS, as a recognised leader in global health research, has been a member of CUGH since 2016 and co-hosted the 2018 CUGH Conference held in New York City.<br></p><p>This year's conference arose out of a vision by the two institutions to highlight African initiatives and institutions, while providing an international forum for global contributions. One of its key aims was to strengthen partnerships and networks with a view to tackling global health challenges.<br></p><p>A major focus of the conference was the sharing of research from across Africa and the world, relevant to global health. It comprised four tracks related to global health: Implementation Science & Capacity-building; NCDs & Infectious Diseases; Human Rights & Equity; and Environment & Climate Change.<br></p><p>Keynote speaker, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of the humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers, said the pandemic exposed serious gaps in health care systems in Africa. He described how health infrastructure on the continent was unevenly distributed and often of poor quality, and said that only half of primary healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa had access to clean water and adequate sanitation. Sooliman stressed that everybody has a role to play in making a difference in society.<br></p><p>Keynote speaker for the virtual conference, Dr Elisabet Sahtouris, Evolutionary Biologist and Futurist from the Chaminade University in Hawaii, called upon the human race to start listening to nature and to build caring and sharing communities for the health of all people and the planet. She stressed the need for a shift “from competition to cooperation" which will require all humans to be active change agents for a more peaceful world.</p><p>In his address, Dr Keith Martin, executive director of CUGH, focused on the importance of integrating health into global discussions on climate change.<br></p><p>The South African chapter of Women in Global Health was launched at the conference, and the new president, Professor Flavia Senkubuge, laid out some of the initiatives for advancing women in global health. In her address she stressed that Africa must be ahead in innovation with regard to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the agenda must be “an agenda for all, including women".<br></p><p>FMHS Vice Dean: Research and Internalisation, Professor Nico Gey van Pittius, said the conference covered important global health topics.<br></p><p>“During the recent pandemic we were made fully aware of the inequities in healthcare in the world. As Africans it is important for us to ensure our research agendas are aimed at solving pressing African challenges, while still helping to solve the challenges of the world," he said.<br></p><p>“Our philosophy at SU has always been to create knowledge that will promote health and development, have a societal impact, inform national and international policies and guidelines, and ultimately make a difference to the people we represent and serve," said Gey van Pittius. “The department which has been especially successful at doing this is our Department of Global Health under the capable leadership of Prof Taryn Young, who is also the director of the Centre for Evidence-based Health Care."<br></p><p>Young said the key takeaway from the conference was that there is still much work needed to address the huge burden of disease. “A strong commitment to working together across sectors is needed to make a difference."<br><br></p>
Africa Centre to host community event on World Aids Day http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9599Africa Centre to host community event on World Aids Day Africa Centre for HIV/Aids Management<p>​​The Africa Centre for HIV/Aids Management, which falls under the Economic & Management Sciences (EMS) faculty, will host a community day in commemoration of World Aids Day (WAD) on 1 December. The purpose is to raise awareness and ignite a call to action against HIV stigma, gender-based violence and child abuse. <br></p><p>This ties in with the annual 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign in South Africa. It is also in line with this year's global WAD theme, “Equalise", which highlights the importance of addressing inequalities such as the continued disproportionate number of HIV infections in women versus men – 64% of the people currently living with HIV in South Africa are women. </p><p>While extensive progress has been made in controlling the HIV/Aids pandemic, progress has stalled in recent years. In 2021, for example, there were 1,5 million new HIV infections globally – a million infections more than the 2020 target of 500 000. This is a significant gap that emphasises why creating awareness of and managing HIV and Aids is still of critical importance.</p><p><strong>A community focus</strong></p><p>As with tackling any global-scale challenge, it's best to start at home, which is why the team at the Africa Centre is focusing on the local community in its WAD commemoration, which will involve using the arts to create awareness. Fellow Stellenbosch University staff and their families, representatives from community-based organisations, as well as children and educators from schools in Stellenbosch and surrounding areas are invited. Attendees will have the honour of listening to the award-winning Prof Azwihangwisi Mavhandu-Mudzusi from Unisa, who will share her expert insights on the topic of “Zero HIV infection: Mission impossible with current stigma and discrimination against LGBTQI+ individuals and people living with HIV".</p><p>To further encourage the SU community to make this WAD about family and friends, Dr Munya Saruchera (Senior Lecturer and Acting Director at the Africa Centre), Prof Ingrid Woolard (EMS Dean), Prof Nico Koopman (Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Social Impact, Transformation & Personnel) and Dr Leslie van Rooi (Senior Director for Social Impact and Transformation) will take public HIV tests on the day. The HIV testing will also be available to other attendees, as well as testing for TB, diabetes and substance abuse.<br></p><p><strong>Managing HIV goes far beyond medical treatment</strong></p><p>In its day-to-day operations, the Africa Centre contributes to the fight against the pandemic through academic programmes and research on how to manage HIV and Aids in the world of work. The centre offers three postgraduate programmes (a postgraduate diploma, an MPhil and a PhD) that provide a multidisciplinary lens and valuable management science insights. The centre has attracted students from several African countries and even a few from other continents.</p><p>Saruchera explains why these programmes are vital to combatting the pandemic: “HIV and Aids are not just about treatment and physical health; it is about everyday humanity, dignity and equality. Issues relating to, among others, stigma, gender imbalances, sexuality and justice are still rife in the world of work and our communities." </p><p>Students acquire valuable critical analysis and evaluation skills and gain deeper insights into issues such as the legal aspects of employing people living with HIV, the socioeconomic impacts of HIV, migration and its link with poverty and HIV, HIV/Aids policy making and programme design and evaluation, as well as social responsibility. These programmes are for people from any industry, not only the medical field.</p><p>“Past students have included HR managers, church ministers, teachers, administrators and directors," says Saruchera. “Whatever their role and responsibilities in their organisation, students can apply the skills they acquire to make an impact. They also gain access to a network of people from different professions, sectors and countries via their classmates." </p><p>Importantly, the skills are not relevant to HIV/Aids only – they can be applied in any context requiring strategic HR management and organisational efficiency during a crisis, such as Covid-19.</p><p>Speaking of the Covid-19 pandemic, similar to the many medical treatments, routine check-ups and preventative vaccines that came to a halt during Covid-19, the rollout of HIV and Aids programmes and access to antiretroviral therapy were also negatively affected. The socioeconomic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, such as increased unemployment and lack of access to food for those on treatment, aggravated this even further.</p><p><strong>Globally, we are far from reaching HIV and Aids targets</strong></p><p>The decrease of 31% in new HIV infections since 2010 may seem impressive – and of course every step forward is a step in the right direction. However, it's not even close to the 75% target for 2020 set by the United Nations General Assembly. </p><p>In December 2020, UNAIDS released new ambitious targets for 2025, in short the 95-95-95 targets. The goal is to have 95% of all people living with HIV to know their status, 95% of everyone diagnosed with HIV infection to receive antiretroviral therapy (ART) and 95% of all people on ART to have viral suppression. Viral suppression helps to keep people healthy and prevents transmission. UN member states adopted the targets in June 2021 and achieving them will require focused action on all fronts, from reducing new infections to bridging inequalities in treatment coverage and outcomes. </p><p>As many of these interventions will be linked to the world of work, the work done by the Africa Centre remains of critical importance. Says Saruchera: “Issues like stigma and discrimination and the resultant mental health challenges are not cured by conventional medical treatment, which is why there is reason to continue caring about HIV and Aids."<br></p><ul><li>​For more information about the Africa Centre's academic programmes, visit <a href="http://www.aidscentre.sun.ac.za/"><strong>www.aidscentre.sun.ac.za</strong></a>. Alternatively, send an email to <a href="mailto:aidscentre@sun.ac.za"><strong>aidscentre@sun.ac.za</strong></a> or <a href="mailto:wchabalala@sun.ac.za"><strong>wchabalala@sun.ac.za</strong></a>.  <br></li></ul><div><p><strong><br></strong></p><p><strong>Adopting SU's new visual identity perfectly aligned to the Africa Centre's vision </strong></p><p><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Africa_Centre_2.jpg" alt="Africa_Centre_2.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin:5px;" />The new SU logo introduced in 2021 marked the start of a new era of continued world-class academics and the aspiration to be Africa's leading research-intensive university by 2040. In addition, the logo elements represent the warmth and vibrancy of the African continent and the array of cultures and languages it embodies. <br></p><p>The directive to align the visual identities of internal faculties and departments with the new SU logo was a natural fit for the Africa Centre. The centre has welcomed students from all across sub-Saharan Africa (and further abroad) over the years. In addition, conducting and sharing research on managing HIV and Aids effectively in the world of work and communities is one of the pillars of the centre's work and its objectives to support, educate and advocate. The Africa Centre is proud to have the distinctive maroon that sets SU apart from its competitors in its name and to associate with the commitment to research excellence. <br></p><br></div><p>​<br></p>
SUNFin celebrates new milestones http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9595SUNFin celebrates new milestones Petro Mostert<p></p><p>The SUNFin project team recently celebrated new milestones after working tirelessly to map the financial business processes in Oracle Cloud Financials (OCF) to meet Stellenbosch University's requirements and adhere to OCF global best practice.   </p><p>The team has also populated the training guides within the Oracle Guided Learning (OGL) software to align with the mapped business processes. The team will use OGL to train and support the end users of the new SUNFin solution.  </p><p>“I am extremely proud of the SUNFin project team members for achieving these milestones. I know how hard the entire team worked to meet these timelines while continuing their normal duties to provide the required financial support to the university," says Chief Director Finance and SUNFin project owner, Manie Lombard.  </p><p>The IT Integration team has worked closely with the Finance subject matter experts (SMEs) to develop various integration solutions to ensure that the required SU peripheral systems, such as Planon, FKT, and the vehicle fleet system, will be able to “talk to" the OCF application when SUNFin goes live. </p><p>Denisha Jairam-Owthar, Chief Director IT, believes that IT and business should work closely together as a team to develop IT solutions that meet the needs of the University. “How the IT Integration team has adopted an agile way of working with the Finance team on the SUNFin project, has created the benchmark for future projects at Stellenbosch University," she says. ​</p><p>The project team is currently setting up the OCF test system and loading SU data into this environment. User acceptance testing will follow. The testing phase is planned to run until the end of February 2023.The training material will be finalised after testing, and end-user training is planned for May 2023. <br></p><p>“We will communicate the cutover and deployment processes and dates to relevant staff members within the faculties and PASS divisions well in advance to ensure a successful go-live in June 2023," confirmed Lombard.  <br></p><p>Please send your questions or comments regarding the project to <a href="mailto:sunfin@sun.ac.za">sunfin@sun.ac.za</a>. For more information, please visit <a href="/sunfin">www.sun.ac.za/sunfin</a>. <br></p><p>​<br></p>
Ukwanda celebrates success and 20-year anniversary at community functionhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9585Ukwanda celebrates success and 20-year anniversary at community functionMarketing & Communication / Bemarking & Kommunikasie – Wilma Stassen<p>​The 2022 Community Partnership Function hosted by the Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health's was an auspicious occasion – not only was it the 10<sup>th</sup> time that this event was held, it also took place in the year that the Centre is celebrating its 20<sup>th</sup> anniversary.<br></p><p>“The Community Partnership Function is always one of the highlights of the year for me. However, today is even more special, as we are also celebrating 20 years of Ukwanda," Prof Ian Couper, Director of the Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health said in his welcoming address on the day. The Centre is situated within the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), Stellenbosch University (SU).</p><p>The purpose of this annual function is to highlight the inspiring work between the University and rural communities, either through student projects, research or other initiatives. The function was distributed over three venues in rural areas where the Centre operates – Worcester and Hermanus in the Western Cape, and Upington in the Northern Cape.</p><p>Dr Therese Fish, Vice Dean: Clinical Services and Social Impact for the FMHS delivered this year's Hoffie Conradie address. The rural doctor and educator, Prof Hoffie Conradie was instrumental in the establishment of the Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health and served as its first director. “Hoffie Conradie epitomises the community doctor. He has a heart for rural communities, and he lived to guide our students to becoming community doctors. It is important for us to honour him at the Community Partnership Function through the Hoffie Conradie address," said Lindsay-Michelle Meyer, who has been associated with the Centre for well over a decade.</p><p>In her address, Fish, who has been involved with Ukwanda since 2006, reflected on some of the highlights of the Centre's 20-year existence. “It was pioneering of our leadership to establish the Centre for Rural Health in 2001, specifically to drive research and training in rural, underserved areas," she said. “We know that the further you are from the city, the worse the health care available to you. So we wanted to train our students outside of the big hospitals in the city, closer to where people live, so that our graduates understood the social determinants of health. Today we are proud that SU has one of the most extensive networks for undergraduate training."</p><p>Fish also acknowledged the pioneering work of the University's late Rector, Prof Russel Botman and his management team, who worked with the FMHS to establish the Worcester campus a decade after the Centre was formed. This allows students to spend their entire final year at rural facilities where they can immerse themselves in the communities and get insight into the context of patients they serve. Fish also paid tribute to the first cohort of seven medical students who had the courage to pilot the rural platform. “They were the pioneers, and paved the way for the other students, not just in the medical programme, but also students from occupational therapy, human nutrition, physiotherapy, speech-language and hearing therapy, and soon also nursing students," she said.</p><p>The feedback from students regarding the longitudinal rural rotation has been overwhelmingly positive, and students describe their training time in rural settings as “transformative, life changing, a positive learning experience, and opportunity to gain a better understanding of the people and the place."</p><p>She thanked all the internal and external partners that have collaborated with the Centre throughout the year, and who have been instrumental in its success. “We cannot do the work that we do – training students and doing health research – without partnerships with the Department of Health, local government, non-governmental- and community-based organisations," Fish stressed. “They have been critical for us, and over the years we have witnessed many of the outcomes of those collaborations at the Annual Partnership Functions."<br><br></p>
Curricula should be responsive to societal needshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9578Curricula should be responsive to societal needsFMHS Marketing & Communications / FGGW Bemarking & Kommunikasie – Sue Segar<p></p><p>Should educators only focus on teaching future healthcare practitioners the biomedical facts required for the profession, or should they also include aspects of social responsibility?</p><p>This was the question posed by Cecilia Jacobs, an associate professor in the <strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""><a href="/english/faculty/healthsciences/chpe/Pages/default.aspx">Centre for Health Professions Education</a></strong> (CHPE), in her state-of-the-art address at the 66th Annual Academic Day of the <strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""><a href="/english/faculty/healthsciences/">Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences</a></strong> (FMHS), <strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""><a href="/english/">Stellenbosch University</a></strong> (SU). </p><p>In her thought-provoking lecture entitled 'Health Professions Education – whence and whither', Jacobs said that it is important to incorporate biomedical knowledge and clinical competence, as well as social responsibility and critical consciousness into the curriculum.</p><p>She argued that in order to develop future healthcare professionals who are both clinically competent and socially responsive, health professions educators need to design curricula that are socially responsive and develop graduates who will be “critically conscious future healthcare professionals".</p><p>Jacobs, who specialises in higher education studies, has extensive experience in preparing academics for their teaching roles. Her current research focuses on the question of knowledge and the importance of its centrality in debates on higher education teaching and learning.</p><p>There have been many calls for responsive curricula in Health Professions Education (HPE), including one made in the <em class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""><strong style=""><a href="https://www.thelancet.com/">Lancet</a></strong></em> journal in 2010. “More recent literature emphasizes the need for HPE curricula to be more responsive to societal needs," she added.</p><p>Jacobs cited research by SU academics that formed part of a broader study involving six universities in South Africa. “The basic premise for the study was that disease is managed in the context of a healthcare system. Therefore, addressing inequity and social injustice within healthcare systems needs to become part of how future healthcare professionals are educated, and hence how curricula are designed."</p><p>She said the study, which ran from 2019 to 2022, demonstrated that there were different perspectives on who should take responsibility for curricula that are socially responsive. “The analysis showed that participants across the six institutions understood the need to deliver such curricula, but had differing opinions about whose responsibility it was. Some participants felt it was the responsibility of HPE teachers, while others felt it was everyone's responsibility."</p><p>The other area where there were different perspectives was on whether the implementation of a responsive curriculum should be integrated across all modules in a programme or if only some curriculum components should be developing social responsiveness. “Some participants saw it as a process to be integrated throughout all modules; others saw it as a body of content to be addressed in a single module."</p><p>“These are some of the issues we need to think about, going forward in the field of HPE," Jacobs said. ​​<br></p><p><br></p>
SU's fossil expert returns with great news from expedition in Mongoliahttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9541SU's fossil expert returns with great news from expedition in MongoliaCorporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking - Sandra Mulder<p>​​A discovery of multiple fossil assemblages and ash deposits in the Eastern Gobi basin in Mongolia could reveal new knowledge of dinosaurs and extreme climate conditions that existed on Earth 120 to 80 million years ago.<br></p><p>This is according to <a href="/english/faculty/science/earthsciences/staff-and-postgrads/academic-staff/dr-ryan-tucker">Dr Ryan Tucker</a>, a sedimentologist and taphonomist in the Department of Earth Sciences at Stellenbosch University. He was part of an international team of scientists led by Dr Lindsay Zanno of the North Carolina Museum of Natural History, who undertook the expedition to Mongolia. The scientists form part of the Project MADEx (Mongolian Alliance for Dinosaur Exploration), whose work focuses on finding data on climate change in Earth's deep time, especially the Cretaceous period.<img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Bio1.jpg" alt="Bio1.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:300px;height:225px;" /><br></p><p>Tucker cannot reveal too much information about the discovery, as much of the recovered material belongs to new species yet to be named. “But in broad strokes, we found a rather unusually large ankylosaur, a possible allosaur-type theropod, several new dromaeosaurs (raptors), along with one site locality preserving numerous eggs and egg nests – all roughly from the middle Cretaceous period. </p><p>“We are exceedingly happy with the data discovered," he says. </p><p>During the five weeks at the Gobi site, the team surprisingly found ash beds, which have not been identified in the Eastern Gobi until now. “This will significantly improve our understanding of the temporal framework, which currently spans a possible 40 million years. With these specific ash beds, we could improve that age estimate to within 1 million years, allowing us to meaningfully compare similar dinosaurs locally and globally," Tucker says.</p><p>“The data found at the site will provide insights into what we maybe need to adapt in our present time and future. We try to compare the Mongolian fossil assemblages and ecosystems to those of Utah (USA) to test global patterns," he adds. </p><p><strong>Exploring the global climate crisis</strong></p><p>The recovered fossils, ash deposits and rock material are now at various laboratories in America, Stellenbosch, and Mongolia to determine, among others, the age of the material and to analyse the climate proxies (temperature, humidity, and rainfall). The Mongolian project aims to fill knowledge gaps by exploring the impact of a global climate crisis on North-Eastern Asia's Cretaceous ecosystems.</p><p>Previous research found that the climate on Earth is impacted by the ongoing tectonic processes (the movement of land and earthquakes) or changes in the Earth's crust. Significant climate shifts in history are linked to such geological processes or changes in the Earth.<img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/theropod%20(meat-eating%20dinosaur)%20tooth.jpg" alt="theropod (meat-eating dinosaur) tooth.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:300px;height:400px;" /><br></p><p>Recent research showed a substantial climate change 30 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period. The warming was so intense that rainforests flourished on the South Pole. During this time –dubbed the mid-Cretaceous Thermal Maximum (CTM) – Earth's inhabitants experienced environmental and climatic disruptions directly linked to Gondwana (Southern Hemisphere separated to form South America, Africa, Antarctica, and Australia) and Laurasia (North America and Eurasia became separated from the Southern continents), Tucker elaborates on how movements in the Earth's crust can cause climate change.</p><p>He states that the detrimental effects of climate change currently being felt globally can possibly be linked to natural causes and human alteration to natural processes. </p><p>“Therefore, our team seeks to fill these knowledge gaps by exploring the impact of a global climate crisis on North-Eastern Asian Cretaceous ecosystems. If we are successful in obtaining research funds it will allow us to better understand the effects of the CTM event in the East Gobi basin of Mongolia, allowing us to capture paleoclimate environmental proxies for global comparisons in a modern or future context."</p><p><strong>High-risk, high-reward</strong></p><p>Tucker plans to return to Gobi next year with postgraduate students, who will benefit significantly from prospecting there. “Besides helping to explain the region's cryptic geology, they will also be prepared for a very successful and rewarding career because of the unique nature of the fieldwork and the complexity of the geology there."<img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Thin-bedded%20ash%20horizon(the%20white%20unit).jpg" alt="Thin-bedded ash horizon(the white unit).jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin:5px;width:400px;height:300px;" /><br></p><p>“I hope to find funding to bring the students to Mongolia next year and for many years to come; it holds such a special place in my heart now," Tucker says. </p><p>The Mongolian project team seeks “high-risk, high-reward" areas to do the prospecting. “With the aid of historical geological maps and satellite imagery, we assess areas with good rock exposure, high relief, and lacking human modification," says Tucker. “In these areas, the risk is high not to recover any fossil material, but the reward is also high because if we find something, it is typically new to science."</p><p>The Eastern Gobi basin is such a site. According to Tucker, there is still a wealth of data to be recovered. “We have just scratched the surface, and we barely covered a fraction of the geographical area we intended to. We saw very little of what there really is."  </p><p>The other members of the Mongolian project team are Drs Junki Yoshida and Ryuji Takasaki (research associates, School of Science, Hokkaido University, Japan), Dr Tsogtbaatar Chinzorig (Institute of Paleontology, Mongolian Academy of Sciences), Dr Khishigjav Tsogtbaatar (project advisor and Director of the Institute of Paleontology, Mongolian Academy of Sciences), and Drs Celina Suarez and Marina Suarez (University of Arkansas, USA).</p><ul><li>For more information on Tucker's work, visit <a href="/english/faculty/science/earthsciences/staff-and-postgrads/academic-staff/dr-ryan-tucker">http://www.sun.ac.za/english/faculty/science/earthsciences/staff-and-postgrads/academic-staff/dr-ryan-tucker</a></li></ul><p> <br></p><p><br></p><p> </p><p> </p><p><br></p>
Thank you!http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9529Thank you!Development & Alumni Relations<p>​“Our Stellenbosch University community has once again shown that we are a caring global Matie community, and everyone is willing to go the extra mile for our students. Thank you so much to each and every staff member, to our alumni, the friends of the University and to our students who have donated and taken part in the University's annual Giving Day. Together we make a huge difference." <br></p><p>These were the words of Karen Bruns, Senior Director of Development and Alumni Relations, after yet another successful Giving Day held on the Stellenbosch and Tygerberg campuses.</p><p>​Giving Day forms part of the <a href="https://www.matiesalumni.com/bridge-the-gap-annual-fund/"><strong>Annual Fund, Bridge the Gap</strong></a> (BTG)<span style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>,</strong></span> that aims to remove the obstacles that are hindering Maties from having a meaningful student experience and obtaining that sought-after degree. The University is raising funds for several initiatives under the umbrella of BTG. These include, <a href="https://www.givengain.com/cc/su100/"><strong>#Move4Food</strong></a>, <a href="https://www.givengain.com/cc/tygerberg-pantry-project/"><strong>the Tygerberg Pantry Project</strong></a>, <a href="https://www.givengain.com/cc/action4inclusion/"><strong>#Action4Inclusion</strong></a><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>, </strong></span><a href="https://www.givengain.com/cc/gradme/"><strong>#GradMe</strong></a>, <a href="https://www.givengain.com/cc/zim4zim/"><strong>#Zim4Zim</strong></a><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>, </strong></span><a href="https://www.givengain.com/cc/end-period-poverty/"><strong>End Period Poverty</strong></a><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>, </strong></span><a href="https://www.givengain.com/cc/matieshavedrive/"><strong>#MatiesHaveDrive</strong></a> and <a href="https://www.givengain.com/cc/caught-in-the-middle/"><strong>Caught in the Middle.</strong></a></p><p>Giving Day 2022 activities included a movie marathon at the newly revamped Neelsie Cinema, a spin-a-thon, a table tennis tournament, a tree decorating competition for residences and PSO's, an art exhibition and art sale, and a Matie run. Also part of the activities was the Faculty Trolley Challenge which was set in motion during last year's Giving Day when the Dean of Engineering Wikus van Niekerk and the Dean of AgriSciences Danie Brink set about raising funds for the Tygerberg Pantry Project. The aim of the Faculty Trolley Challenge is to collect non-perishable food, sanitary products, toiletries and funds for students in need.</p><p>This year eight faculties took on the challenge and managed to collect more than 15 000 non-perishable food items, sanitary and toiletry products. "There was some stiff competition among faculties this year, but in the end our Faculty of AgriSciences was officially crowned as our 2022 Faculty Trolley Challenge winner," said Viwe Benxa, BTG ambassador.</p><p>"It was really a massive team effort within our faculty. Everybody – lecturers, technical staff, support staff, assistants, our students, and dean of the faculty, came together and made this happen," added AgriSciences' Bongiwe Mhlongo. </p><p>Benxa said more than 100 donations were received via the various giving platforms. "In the meantime, all the non-perishable food items, sanitary and toiletry products have already been dropped off at the social workers' offices in Stellenbosch and at Tygerberg. </p><p>"Thanks to all the Giving Day supporters, we are now able to supply food parcels and toiletry packs to assist our students in the last quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023 – peak periods of need among our students," said Benxa. </p><p>He added: “Giving Day 2022 is done and dusted, but there are still plenty of opportunity to get involved. Perhaps consider donating the cost of your weekly coffee or take-away lunches to any of the BTG priorities. Birthday coming up? Ask your friends to donate to BTG instead of buying a birthday present. Want to get fit? Take on the open road, but first set up a fundraising page on GivenGain and ask your network to sponsor a kilometre or two. It's all up to you!" </p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-embedcode ms-rte-embedil ms-rtestate-notify"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BZ0BLk9NRcI" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div><p><br></p><ul><li>The next Giving Day is <strong>5 to 6 October 2023</strong>. For more information go to <a href="https://matiesalumni.com/bridge-the-gap-annual-fund/"><strong>https://matiesalumni.com/bridge-the-gap-annual-fund/</strong></a><strong>   </strong><br></li></ul><p>​<br></p>
Join us for Giving Day 2022http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9490Join us for Giving Day 2022Development & Alumni Relations<p>​Stellenbosch University (SU) is set to host its third annual Giving Day from 6 to 7 October and is challenging alumni, students, staff and friends of the University to get involved.<br></p><p>The cause? To help Matie students overcome the many obstacles on their path to success. All proceeds will go towards Bridge the Gap (BTG), the University's Annual Fund. SU is raising funds for several initiatives under the umbrella of BTG. These include: </p><p><strong>#Move4Food, the Tygerberg Pantry Project, #Action4Inclusion, #GradMe, #Zim4Zim, #MatiesHaveDrive </strong>and <strong>Caught in the Middle.</strong></p><p>Giving Day activities will be mostly centred in and around the Neelsie Student Centre in Stellenbosch, but if you find yourself in other parts of South Africa or abroad, you will still have the opportunity to make a contribution.</p><p>Giving Day activities include a movie marathon at the newly revamped Neelsie Cinema, a spin-a-thon to get your blood pumping, an opportunity to donate the cost of your first cup of coffee and in so doing “fuel-a-future", a table tennis tournament, a tree decorating competition for residences and PSO's, an art exhibition and art sale, and a Matie run.</p><p>“Giving Day is an example of how we can all come together to make a tangible difference in the lives of students in need. Here at Stellenbosch University we believe that no student should be left behind. All gifts, no matter how small, are welcomed and will be greatly appreciated," says Viwe Benxa, BTG co-ordinator at SU. </p><p><span lang="EN-US" style="text-decoration:underline;">More on the Giving Day activities (starts at 09:00)</span></p><p><strong>Fuel-A-Future</strong></p><p>Staff, alumni and student communities are urged to donate the cost of their first cup of coffee towards Bridge the Gap.</p><p><strong>Spin-a-thon</strong></p><p>Students, staff and alumni will ride stationary bicycles set up in the Neelsie. Participants will be allocated 10-minute timeslots ahead of time. You can sponsor a team or individual rider at R20 each to participate in the activity.</p><p><strong>Maties Run</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">If you would like to take part in the Maties Run, you can choose to complete a 2.5 km, 5 km, 10 km or even 20 km run on any route of your choice, wherever you are. All you have to do is ask your network of friends or family to sponsor any amount for each kilometre that you complete. </p><p><strong>Art Exhibition</strong></p><p>During the 24-hour period of Giving Day at the Neelsie, we will have a student art exhibition where students can display their works and contribute to the cause with their artistic skill. We encourage you to come and view the art on display and buy one-of-a kind art pieces.</p><p><strong>Table Tennis</strong></p><p>Table tennis spots will be set up on the ground floor of the Neelsie. Timeslots will be allocated ahead of time, but passers-by can also get involved. Participants will be charged a fee of R20 to play for 15 to 20 minutes.</p><p><strong>Forest of Giving</strong></p><p>Residences and Private Student Organisations (PSO) will decorate the trees on Victoria Street between Dagbreek and Irene. Each residence or PSO will be allocated a tree, and a donation box to collect non-perishable foods and toiletries (including sanitary towels) will be placed at each decorated tree. Please feel free to drop off an item or two.</p><p><strong>Movie Marathon</strong><strong>                                                                                                                 </strong></p><p>The Movie Marathon will take place at the revamped Neelsie Cinema from 16:00 on 6 October to 02:00 on 7 October. The cinema has 219 seats, 121 in cinema One and 98 in cinema Two. Tickets for the movies are R30 each and will be sold on Quicket. (<span style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.quicket.co.za/events/191653-movie-marathon/#/">BOOK HERE</a></strong></span>)<br></p><ul><li>For those who would like to make an online contribution towards Bridge the Gap, go to <a href="https://www.givengain.com/c/stelalum/"><strong>https://www.givengain.com/c/stelalum/</strong></a> </li><li>For more information on Giving Day please contact Viwe Benxa at <a href="mailto:vbenxa@sun.ac.za"><strong>vbenxa@sun.ac.za</strong></a> or <a href="mailto:bridgethegap@sun.ac"><strong>bridgethegap@sun.ac</strong></a><strong>.za. </strong><br></li></ul><p>​<br></p>
Lack of funding impedes services to people with psychosocial disabilitieshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9481Lack of funding impedes services to people with psychosocial disabilitiesCorporate Communication & Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie & Bemarking [Alec Basson]<p>​Mental health care for persons with psychosocial disabilities has historically been under-prioritised. Globally, there has been a shift away from institutionalisation as the primary response to psychosocial disability towards community-based mental health care. <br></p><p>In South Africa, however, people with psychosocial disabilities are still being left behind because of under-resourcing and a lack of relevant and accurate data on the prevalence of such disabilities and trends in the use of mental health care services. These deficiencies have had dire consequences, as the ongoing Life Esidimeni Inquest demonstrates. <br></p><p>“Although our legislative and policy framework that governs community-based mental healthcare for adults with psychosocial disabilities largely aligns with the relevant constitutional and international norms and obligations, its implementation leaves much to be desired. This is largely due to major deficiencies in the system," says Marietjie Booyens who is a consultant at the Stellenbosch University (SU) Law Clinic. Booyens recently obtained her Master's degree in Law at SU under the supervision of Prof Sandy Liebenberg, the HF Oppenheimer Chair in Human Rights Law.<br></p><p>As part of her study, Booyens analysed section 27 of the Constitution which acknowledges everyone's right of access to health care services. She also examined policy documents and legislation relating to mental healthcare as well as selected international human rights instruments that focus on the normative standards of availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality for community-based mental healthcare. According to the World Health Organisation, people with psychosocial disabilities have received a mental health diagnosis, and have experienced negative social factors including stigma, discrimination and exclusion.</p><p>Booyens says her study shows that mental healthcare remains underfunded, investment in community-based mental healthcare is lacking, and significant disparities in resource allocation exist between provinces, between rural and urban areas and between the public and private health care sectors. <br></p><p>“Because of poor resource allocation, people with psychosocial disabilities don't have access to facilities, goods and services they so desperately need.<br></p><p>“Monitoring and information systems are also ineffective, safeguards for the quality and acceptability of care are lacking, and there is insufficient engagement with people with psychosocial disabilities and their representative organisations when policy is made, and its implementation evaluated.<br></p><p>“There is also a lack of clarity on the applicable standards for quality, ethical care; and poorly functioning oversight and accountability mechanisms."<br></p><p>Booyens adds that the sparse resources available for mental healthcare remain concentrated in psychiatric institutions and even where funding for institutionalised care has been reduced, that funding has not been ring-fenced for community-based mental healthcare. <br></p><p>She says this severe under-resourcing is unlikely to be addressed if we do not see an improvement in our monitoring and information systems. <br></p><p>“If relevant and accurate data are not collected regularly and processed reliably, we cannot ensure that sufficient resources are allocated, we cannot target the most vulnerable groups for urgent intervention, and we cannot determine whether further reform is needed to meet the mental health needs of persons with psychosocial disabilities.<br></p><p>“The state must invest in improved monitoring and information systems so that accurate, relevant, and quality data can be collected to improve the community-based mental healthcare system."<br></p><p>Booyens emphasises that people with psychosocial disabilities who live in rural areas must have the same access to the necessary resources as their counterparts in urban areas.<br></p><p>“We must address inequities in the distribution of infrastructure and human resources, and set clear and measurable targets nationally, provincially and locally for improved access to community-based mental healthcare goods, facilities and services. We also need special measures and more resources to improve the quality, acceptability and availability of community-based mental healthcare in rural areas.<br></p><p>“A clear and comprehensive set of standards for the provision of community-based mental healthcare at all relevant facilities must be developed and consistently implemented. <br></p><p>“People with psychosocial disabilities and their representative organisations must also be included in decision-making processes, the development of community-based mental healthcare programmes, as well as the monitoring of such programmes when they are implemented."  <br></p><p>According to Booyens, community-based mental healthcare must follow a rights-based approach to improve the health of people with psychosocial disabilities and to empower them to pursue their own goals.<br></p><p>“We cannot consider psychosocial disability as some isolated corner of 'health care' only."<br></p><ul><li>​Photo by Melanie Wasser at <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/j8a-TEakg78"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">Unsplash</strong></a>.<br></li></ul><p>​<br></p>
​Social Impact Symposium 2022 - Universities are about more than just teaching and learninghttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9480​Social Impact Symposium 2022 - Universities are about more than just teaching and learningCorporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking - Sandra Mulder<p>​​​​Joining universities worldwide in the quest to embed social impact in their teaching and learning functions, Stellenbosch University (SU) recently hosted its annual Social Impact Symposium to reimagine the University's social impact efforts. The event, hosted in hybrid mode by SU's Division of Social Impact, attracted more than 170 stakeholders from higher education, government, business, the non-profitable sector and civil society.<br></p><p><strong>“It is all linked"</strong></p><p>In his opening remarks, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers stressed the importance of reimagining social impact in the ever-changing higher education sector. “During the past two and a half years, we had to reimagine many aspects of how universities function and operate, especially in the learning and teaching space," De Villiers said. “If we can reimagine learning and teaching, and fast-track models of hybrid learning, it means we are capable of reimagining social impact as well. It is all linked." </p><p>Elaborating on the interconnectedness of social impact and the other functions of the University, he added: “We do not exist for ourselves; we do not practise our science and research in isolation or for our own benefit; we do not serve only certain groups. We are a public university in every sense of the word and have an impact on society and individual lives and livelihoods." </p><p>The Rector further highlighted SU's vision of being a leading research-intensive university that advances knowledge in service of society. “To realise this vision, we're implementing, among others, hybrid learning, entrepreneurship and innovation, academic renewal to continue meeting the requirements of the global economy and escalating our hybrid model to exploit new markets via additional learning pathways." </p><p><strong>Universities must restore and rebuild</strong></p><p>During the critical discourse for the remainder of the symposium, thought leaders, academics and professionals shared ideas and best practices for changing society for the better. South African economist and political scientist Prof William Gumede, an associate professor at the School of Governance at the University of the Witwatersrand and executive chair of the Democracy Works Foundation, delivered a thought-provoking keynote address. He reflected on social impact in developing countries, and universities' broader role in restoring a “broken society". </p><p>According to Gumede, social impact includes universities' task to promote democratic corporate citizenship, empower people both in and outside the institution, demonstrate honesty and compassion, and build a social compact in the communities where the university operates. In developing countries specifically, he said, the social impact should focus on building corporate welfare, social justice, democracy, ethics and morality. “There is a deep moral crisis in society and in all the governing systems in the country," Gumede said. “Universities have the task to help rebuild those systems."</p><p>To address the “morality crisis" in South Africa, he suggested that universities teach ethics, which should be compulsory for all students. Moreover, Gumede proposed that universities should help develop people's resilience to crises, and their entrepreneurship skills. “We should train people to navigate problems, embrace them, and see opportunities," he said. He also encouraged symposium guests to find innovative ways to solve the current problems in society, and not simply revert to old ideas. </p><p><strong>In service of society</strong></p><p>Dr Leslie van Rooi, senior director of the Division of Social Impact, closed the proceedings by saying: “Universities across the globe are moving away from the notion of being research-intensive only for the sake of doing research. We are moving towards universities that are inherently in service of society."</p><p>Van Rooi concluded that an institution can embed social impact in its heart and soul. “It can be done by understanding what it means to engage, what it means to enable knowledge transfer, what it means to make society better, and what this will allow. Perhaps it will also force institutions such as Stellenbosch University not only to reflect on their history but to acknowledge it and allow themselves to be deeply changed."</p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p><br></p>