UCT health science students Oluwatoyin Adeleke and Nadia Hussey have won a prestigious award from Health Systems Trust (HST) for articles they submitted for inclusion in the South African Health Review (SAHR).
The Emerging Public Health Practitioner's Award recognises the best article submitted by a young and emerging public health professional to the SAHR.
HST is a non-profit organisation established in 1992 to support the transformation of the health system in a new, democratic South Africa. HST actively supports current and future development of a comprehensive health system, through strategies designed to promote equity and efficiency in health and healthcare delivery in Southern Africa.
Open to South Africans under the age of 35, entries are assessed by a panel of public health experts. In addition to a well-written and comprehensive piece of work, other criteria used in the assessment process include relevance of the topic to the local and international public health community and current policy environment in South Africa; scientific rigour and intellectual clarity; degree of innovation and originality; identification of good practices and hindrances to policy implementation; and possible policy implications.
Hussey is a third-year MBChB student at, while Adeleke is a Master's in Public Health graduate from the School of Public Health and Family Medicine.
Adeleke submitted a chapter on the barriers to implementation of tuberculosis infection control among South African health care workers, while Hussey's contribution concerned the effects of language barriers on the access patients and communities have to quality healthcare.
"Inadequate on-the-job training and a non-responsive compensation policy are some of the major barriers to the implementation of TB infection control measures, while I also found that implementation is facilitated by the availability of resources, as well supervision and leadership," said Adeleke.
She said her research was borne out of a recognition that health-care workers who deliver health-care services in high-risk settings also need to be protected.
"I am excited about the award and further motivated to conduct health systems research that is socially responsible. The award/publication looks good on my CV and, more importantly, it is pivotal to my public health focus in health systems research".
She says she would like to "actively participate in a public health revolution that embraces a primary health-care approach to equitable access to health care in Africa".
Hussey, meanwhile, said in South Africa the language barrier continued to compromise a large proportion of the population's quality of and access to health care.
"The case study findings indicate that the language barrier decreases work efficiency and the provision of holistic treatment. It also makes communication time consuming, which increases frustration levels and decreases empathy, approachability and confidentiality".
She said she hoped her winning chapter would highlight the important roles of communication and language in the provision of equitable holistic healthcare. "It is also important to remember that language is political," Hussey added.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Please view the republishing articles page for more information.