UKZN Lecturer Honoured with Eugene Weinberg Medal Award

Development lecturer and PhD candidate in the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health in the School of Clinical Medicine, Dr Reratilwe Mphahlele has been honoured by the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA) with the Eugene Weinberg Medal for 2019 for her excellent performance towards obtaining the Diploma in Allergology offered by the College of Family Physicians.

Mphahlele, who works in the Asthma Clinic at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital said she was pleasantly surprised to win the award and is excited by the doors it will open. She was inspired to study for the diploma by the increasing burden of allergy and allergic disorders among South African children, many of whom remain undiagnosed, with no access to treatment.

The Diploma in Allergology is offered by the CMSA’s College of Family Physicians. It is aimed at specialists and non-specialists and assesses competence in general and safe management of common allergic disorders.

Mphahlele said she is motivated by academic-clinicians like Professors Refiloe Masekela and Prakash Jeena and Dr Stanley Thula who encourage her to keep learning, solve problems and be accountable in her work.

‘Dr Ahmed Manjra, the first Eugene Weinberg Medallist in 2003, was our group mentor and inspired me to pass the baton. I have personal experience and identify with millions of South Africans who face challenges due to asthma and allergy. I am motivated to stay updated and find solutions to these rising problems,’ she said.

Mphahlele is currently completing a PhD focusing on asthma in school-going children in KwaZulu-Natal. She has conducted notable research on Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a genetic disorder that causes malnutrition and lung problems. Common in populations of European descent, it has become increasingly prevalent in other populations worldwide, including Africans.

Words: Lihle Sosibo

Photograph: Supplied