Health Sciences Community Pledges to Protect Women

The School of Health Sciences hosted its Annual Oath Taking Ceremony in which final-year students took an oath to abide by the ethical and professional standards of all professional bodies … and this year at the same occasion, the School encouraged all male staff, students and parents in attendance to commit to protecting women against Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

Academic Leader of Teaching and Learning Professor Verusia Chetty encouraged final-year students to help bring about much needed change through research, advocacy and, above all else, compassion for their patients and clients. ‘Care for the people you encounter in your professions and always ensure that your interactions are professional and of the highest ethical standards,’ said Chetty.

Recently appointed acting Dean of Research in the College of Health Sciences and one of UKZN’s Top 30 researchers, Professor Anil Chuturgoon, delivered the keynote address saying: ‘Your UKZN education prepares you to solve our healthcare problems. You are young, enthusiastic and full of energy, hence the baton is passed onto you to be innovative in order to drive the process of healthcare in the country and alleviate the many diseases that are prevalent.

‘I’ve noticed that the majority of students seated here today are female and that is fantastic. To the male students, I want to plead with you to protect our women because a society that looks after its women will be prosperous.’

After the oaths of the various professions had been taken by the students concerned, an emotional academic leader of Dentistry Dr Tufayl Muslim, joined colleagues on stage to lead the oath against Gender-Based Violence.

Male staff and students in the School of Health Sciences as well as the parents of students pledged to: ‘Speak out loud and promise to never be silent while women suffer. To speak up instead of speaking down.

‘To condemn instead of condone, to object instead of objectify. To do everything possible to make this country a better place for women. A place where women never have to fear walking home alone. A place where women never have to worry about what men will think about the clothes they’re wearing. To not mute offensive chat groups and inner circles but to rather unmute oneself and speak out. To be accountable. To be more of a brother, father, son or uncle but most importantly to be more of a man and make sure that the voice of a woman is always heard.’

Words: MaryAnn Francis

Photograph: Supplied