Global Health
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The African Cancer Institute creates awareness for World Cancer Day

​The African Cancer Institute created awareness around World Cancer Day, which took place on ​Saturday, 4 February 2023. The theme for this ye​ar was “Close the care Gap: Uniting our voices and taking action.”​ 

Senior lecturer at the Institute, Dr Yoshan Moodley engaged with the media around this. To read more on this, please follow the links below.

World Cancer Day: A healthy diet reduces cancer risk but rising food costs means poor are vulnerable

Cancer survivors could play a key role in helping new patients navigate treatment — and the system

Global Health Postdoctoral Fellow scoops award for Exceptional Acheivement

Dr Owolabi Eyitayo​, a postdoctoral fellow of the Department of Global Health,​ has been announced as an awardee on the list of winners for the Top 20 Postdoctoral Research Fellow Award for Exceptional Achievement.​ The winners were announced on 12 November 2021 during the gala event of the 2nd Postdoctoral Research Conference of Southern Africa. The awardees receive a cash prize of R10 000 each and will receive their awards at a special luncheon on 25 November 2021.​

Prof Eugene Cloete has said, "The contribution of postdoctoral fellows to academic performance at the university is significant, and postdocs support students and are the muscle behind major research. The fellows honoured here had published upwards of 10 manuscripts, formed parts of collaborative research teams, landed large grants and also are active members in university and other academic societies."​

ReneEnglish.jpgProf​ English set to play key role in Global Health​​​

Prof René English has been elected as a member of the Subcommittee on Masters and Undergraduate Degrees in Global Health (SMUDGH) of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH). 

"SMUDGH forms part of CUGH's Education Committee. This subcommittee analyses trends and innovations in curricula design, teaching and experiential learning for undergraduate, masters and doctoral degree programmes in global health. A key part of its activities is to assist universities to design and implement good quality undergraduate and postgraduate global health programmes," explains English. ​Read More​

Non-infected children ​​of HIV-positiv​e mothers under microscope

Amy Slogrove.jpgThe Boland town of Worcester is perhaps best known for its scenic mountain ranges and sprawling winelands. It may soon also become known as a site of pioneering and internationally renowned medical research.
This is where Amy Slogrove, Associate Professor in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), and her team are conducting research on children born to mothers with HIV.
“We first recognised 10 children with severe infections like one would expect in children infected with HIV,” she explains. “But they were tested multiple times and found to be HIV-uninfected.”
Slogrove, who is based at the Worcester campus and also does work in the FMHS’ Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health, first started researching this field while undergoing paediatric registrar training at Tygerberg Hospital.​

‘University with a conscience’ demonstra​tes commitment to inclusivity

Gubela.jpgWhen Stellenbosch University (SU) declared 2020 the Year for Persons with Disability, it was a reminder of its intention to be a university with a conscience, says Prof Gubela Mji, Director of the Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies (CDRS).
“It also brought attention to disability issues at SU and built on the work it had started doing to create an inclusive university society,” adds Mji.
SU immediately demonstrated its commitment to the declaration at the beginning of the year. “When Vice-Rector: Learning and Teaching Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel welcomed the first year students, he mentioned – for the first time – the University’s commitment to inclusivity and to making students from vulnerable groups, such as students with disabilities, feel welcome,” Mji notes.​

AfriNEAD addressing lack of research about disability in Afric​​a​

The Stellenbosch University (SU) Year for Persons with Disability has culminated in the sixth African Network for Evidence-to- Action in Disability (AfriNEAD) conference, a prestigious international network event that is hosted by SU this week.

The two-day virtual conference, themed “Disability Unplugged: Beyond Charters and Conventions: What really matters to persons with disabilities in Africa", offers keynote speakers, research evidence and roundtable discussions involving academics, governments officials and civil society representatives.

Read More​

Ned strives to improve the lives of people with disabilities

Lieketseng_WEB.jpgDr Lieketseng Ned, a researcher in the Department of Global Health, was recently appointed as the country representative for South Africa for the Community-Based Rehabilitation Africa Network.

This is the latest in a number of key achievements by the 31-year-old academic, who lectures in the Centre for Rehabilitation Studies (CRS) at Stellenbosch University's (SU) Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS). She convenes the CRS' postgraduate diploma programme and has published book chapters and articles in a number of journals. In 2018, aged 29, she was the youngest person in the department to complete her PhD.

Last year, she was featured as one of the Mail & Guardian's 200 Young South Africans to watch and is also the deputy chair for the Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre facility board.

Read More​

​Tuesday (4 February) is World Cancer Day. In an opinion piece for News24, Prof Vikash Sewram from the African Cancer Institute reflects on what still needs to be done to combat the disease.

  • ​Read the article below or click here for the piece as published.

    Cancer remains a formidable adversary that afflicts all communities without discrimination or boundaries. Its burden impinges on the lives of tens of millions annually, making it a major and increasing public health problem worldwide. The word 'cancer' invokes deep fear as a silent killer, with many viewing this disease as a symbol of grief and pain, a plague straining our intellectual and emotional resources. But our resilience and need to survive is a reflection of human tenacity and unwavering spirit to conquer the odds, and it is this tenacity to continue the fight against cancer that has led to remarkable strides in better understanding the aetiology of the disease, the complexities regarding its biology, methods for prevention, screening, diagnosis and advances in cancer treatment.

    World Cancer Day, spearheaded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), takes place every year on 4 February and is the uniting global initiative under which the world comes together to raise the profile of cancer in a positive and inspiring way. Cancer has a significant health impact on the global population, and as we commemorate World Cancer Day, we ought to reflect, acknowledge and recognise that the continued battle against cancer is not a singular effort and a unified response is mandatory to ensure a path to victory. Everyone can play a role in ensuring global success. 2020 is the second year of the new three-year campaign by the UICC, 'I Am and I Will'. The new theme is an empowering call for personal commitment and represents the power of our actions taken now to reduce the growing impact of cancer. We must also remind ourselves of the broad societal impacts beyond the negative effects it has on individual health outcomes, including productivity losses for cancer patients and their family caregivers. We must not sway in our resilience to ensure efforts for increased early stage cancer detection, screening, and diagnostic services coupled by timeous and appropriately treatment to significantly improve cancer patients' chances of survival and quality of life.

    ​The global cancer burden is estimated to have risen to 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million deaths in 2018. One in five men and one in six women worldwide develop cancer during their lifetime, and one in eight men and one in 11 women die from the disease. Unless greater efforts are placed into altering the course of the disease, this number is expected to rise to close to 30 million new cases by 2040. With South Africa's growing population of approximately 59 million and an aging population, the caseload is expected to double by 2040 as well. Cancer remains the 6th main cause of mortality in South Africa and latest data from the National Cancer Registry reveals that in 2014, close to 75000 new cases were diagnosed. Cancers of the breast, cervix and prostate continue to dominate with a similar profile extending into Africa.cancer-pic.png

    It is important to note that about 30% of cancer deaths are due to the five leading behavioural and dietary risks, i.e. high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use and alcohol use. Many cancers can be prevented by avoiding exposure to these common risk factors. In addition, a s appropriately in order to improve the quality of life and life expectancy of South Africans. There is no 'one' solution to the country's cancer problem.  Decades of research and medical ingenuity have improved and extended the lives of many cancer patients, but despite these advances, a combined effort between the public and private sectors, academia, advocacy groups and patients are required to beat this complex disease.

    Barriers exist at the individual, health system, and government level, which prevent millions of people globally from receiving an early diagnosis and better treatment. There are huge disparities in health resources (infrastructure, human resources, access to treatment, etc.) that make populations in Africa, including South Africa extremely vulnerable to developing and treating cancer.

    Encouragement and support of spouses and family members are key to minimising individual-level barriers related to early detection, screening, and diagnosis. Feelings of shame and fear, combined with poor health awareness and cultural beliefs, can also keep an individual from utilising medical care or screening programmes. Prevention efforts linked to early detection and diagnosis are likely to offer improved prognosis and better outcomes. Prevention also offers the most cost‐effective long‐term strategy for the control of cancer. This goal is being viewed as more realistic, socially responsive and financially sound when compared to the aggressive therapeutic options of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.

    Health system-related barriers such as increased awareness among health care workers to detect cancer early, especially at the primary care level, and lack of an efficient and timely referral for testing and diagnosis leads to needless delays in treatment. Therefore, continued efforts in strengthening the capacity of the health sector, improving access to treatments and supportive services remain core to curbing the rising epidemic of cancer.

    In our efforts to minimise the cancer burden, the African Cancer Institute at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University has become a key player in the global fight against cancer through its commitment to research excellence, committed and inspired faculty and robust partnerships with world-renowned research and training institutions as well as advocacy and support groups. These partnerships have ensured that the best minds work cohesively in bringing hope to cancer patients and their families worldwide.

    *Prof Vikash Sewram is the Director of the African Cancer Institute in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University​​​​