The UKZN HIV Pathogenesis Programme (HPP) under the leadership of Professor Thumbi Ndung’u launched a new HIV research clinic at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital on 18 February.
The clinic will be used to run clinical trials like the Acute Infection Study, Elite Controller Study, and Lymph Node Study, etc. Study volunteers will be counselled and consent to provide samples to advance biomedical research at UKZN. Postgraduate students, postdoctoral fellows and researchers in the College of Health Sciences will utilise the samples to conduct research.
The clinic will also offer counselling and health education, as well as free HIV tests to patients visiting the hospital including the study volunteers. It is a platform for engagement between scientists and the Umlazi community in which the hospital is situated. The HPP Programme has a long-standing relationship with the hospital administrators and the community.
Ndung’u thanked HPP staff for their resilience dating back to 2000 when the programme was established. He applauded them for their contribution to the fight against HIV, adding that, ‘this would not have been possible without the long-standing partnership and support from the KZN Department of Health and UKZN.’
‘As a hospital we will continue to support the HPP. The research conducted here assists and guides our prevention, diagnosis and treatment strategies in fighting HIV,’ said hospital CEO, Dr MG Khawula.
‘The new clinic boasts a reception area, two consultation rooms, a counselling room, a filing room, a pharmacy room, a boardroom, a kitchen and ablution facilities,’ shared Clinical Operations Manager, Mrs Pedzisai Munatsi who is excitedly looking forward to welcoming back HPP study volunteers into the newly opened clinic.
Words: Lihle Sosibo
Photograph: Mandisa Shozi