‘I am very excited and look forward to making a positive contribution,’ said Associate Professor in UKZN’s Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Professor Vassie Naidoo who has been appointed to the National Health Research Committee (NHRC).
‘It couldn’t have come at a better time with all that is happening globally regarding SARS CoV-2 and COVID-19,’ she added.
Naidoo said that the role of the NHRC is to identify and advise the Minister of Health on health research priorities, and develop and advise the Minister on the application and implementation of an integrated national strategy for health research. ‘The NHRC has a further mandate to determine the health research to be carried out by public health authorities, co-ordinate the research activities of public health authorities; and ensure that research resources and agendas focus on priority health problems.’
Naidoo said she was grateful to UKZN’s Professor Sabiha Essack, South African Research Chair in Antibiotic Resistance and One Health, who served on the National Health Research Ethics Committee for four years and informed Naidoo of the advert to serve on the NHRC. UKZN’s Professor Tricia Naicker also encouraged her to apply.
‘Professors Essack and Naicker nominated me and I sent my nomination form to the National Department of Health. I had forgotten about the application, until I received the email informing me that I was successful,’ she said.
Naidoo’s main activities in the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences are teaching and learning, and research. She also serves on UKZN’s Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee.
‘This position will enhance my research activities and interests and allow me to further develop myself and my students. It will also help me in doing more collaborative research with my colleagues within and outside the University,’ she said.
‘However, my greatest satisfaction will be derived from knowing that I can and will make a valuable contribution to the Committee, the Department of Health, the entire health research system and the South African public.’
Words: Nombuso Dlamini