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DUT Emergency Medical Care Student Makes History

DUT Emergency Medical Care Student Makes History

A Durban University of Technology student will make history this week when he becomes the first operational paramedic in KwaZulu-Natal to receive a Master’s degree in Emergency Medical Care.

Pradeep Ashokcoomar, will receive his Master’s degree in Emergency Medical Care during the University’s graduation ceremony in Durban on Thursday September 6, 2012.

The Clairwood resident, who is employed as a paramedic in Emergency Medical Rescue Services (EMRS) for 24 years, is currently based at the King Shaka International Airport as an aeromedical paramedic.

His qualifications include a national diploma, BTech and now, his Master’s degree in Emergency Medical Care, which were obtained from the Durban University of Technology which started through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in 2007. RPL is a process whereby, through assessment, credit to learning which has already been acquired in different ways is given. The process allows candidates to earn credit for a few unit standards or a full qualification and recognises any learning that the candidate has acquired; from formal training, workplace experience or general life experience. Prior to this, Ashokcoomar studied short courses and obtained the highest emergency medical and rescue qualifications offered by KZN Emergency Medical Rescue Services which was Critical Care Assistant (CCA) and Advance Medical Rescue (AMR).

“I registered at DUT in 2007 to do my diploma which I completed in two years and thereafter, completed my BTech and Master’s degree,” he said.

For his Masters, Ashokcoomar focused on the inter-healthcare facility transfers of neonates (babies from birth to 28 days).

His area of research and study was, “An analysis of inter-healthcare facility transfer of neonates within the eThekwini Health District of KwaZulu-Natal assessed the clinical demographics of the neonates, the time taken to complete the transfers, the equipment that was necessary for the transfers and the qualifications and procedures performed by the transfer team.” The study also identified any adverse events that were encountered during the transfers.

“During my years of employment in EMRS I have been involved in many neonatal inter-healthcare facility transfers and, having developed an interest in this area of service, realised that there is a paucity of research in inter-healthcare facility transfers of neonates in South Africa. It took me approximately 18 months to complete the research. It was challenging but attainable with hard work and determination. I offer my sincere and humble thanks to my supervisor, Mr Raveen Naidoo, and my co-supervisor, Professor Jamila Adam (Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical and Clinical Technology at DUT) for their expert supervision during this study,” he said.

Having made history, Ashokcoomar said he is proud of himself, adding that this degree has motivated other paramedics in the field to pursue their Master’s degree as well. “Studies of this nature is an essential component in providing appropriate emergency medical care and contributes to a body of knowledge in KwaZulu-Natal and the country as a whole,” he said.

Ashokcoomar plans to pursue his PhD soon, adding that he has already started discussing the matter with his supervisor.

“We (my supervisor and I) are in the process of drafting two papers for publication and presentation from my master’s dissertation,” said Ashokcoomar.

Professor Jamila Adam, Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical and Clinical Technology at DUT, who was also Ashokcoomar’s co-supervisor, said his (Ashokcoomar) ability to conduct research, write and perform tasks is exemplary.

–Sinegugu Ndlovu

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