Launched a year ago, the College of Health Sciences’ Tackling Infections to Benefit Africa (TIBA) Initiative has made great progress in the community and within the College.
The initiative is part of a multidisciplinary research programme involving nine African countries collaborating with the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom to tackle infectious diseases.
To commemorate the establishment of the initiative, project leaders, Research Professor in Public Health Moses Chimbari and Professor of Parasitology at the School of Life Sciences Samson Mukaratirwawent back to the community to express gratitude and report on progress thus far.
A gathering attended by about 300 people was held at the Makhane Community Hall in Ingwavuma in KwaZulu-Natal’s uMkhanyakude district.
Those who attended included representatives of traditional leadership, the provincial Department of Health, local municipalities, and primary schools, as well as learners, TIBASA project staff, UKZN postgraduate students, College of Health Sciences members and staff, and the community at large.
Chimbari reminded the community of the project’s objectives and thanked them for their support. He also gave them feedback on the progress made with the Rapid Impact Project where the focus is on bilharzia in children under the age of five.
A National Research Foundation-funded community engagement project aimed at interacting with the community on bilharzia monitoring and control activities was launched at the event.
Chimbari announced TIBASA’s plan to expand into other areas in the uMkhanyakude district and throughout KZN.
The project also shared its key outcomes through edutainment provided by the art music group, Ubuciko.
Chimbari and Mukaratirwa thanked the community leaders for their support with Chimbari highlighting some of the project’s successes including the establishment of a strong TIBA Team, the creation of an African Chapter on Ecohealth International, rolling out CB courses, and growing student numbers in the programme.
He commended the leaders for allowing the TIBA team to work with the community and for being part of a project that will assist Africa by providing a better understanding of infectious disease transmission in different endemic areas, improving diagnostic tools and disease management programmes, and strengthening health systems.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini