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DUT’S PROF REDDY’S PRESENTATION WILL EXPRESS THE NEED FOR THE ‘WILL’ AND THE ‘WANT’ TO CATAPULT IT INTO THE REALM OF NORMAL PUBLIC HEALTHCARE

DUT’S PROF REDDY’S PRESENTATION WILL EXPRESS THE NEED FOR THE ‘WILL’ AND THE ‘WANT’ TO CATAPULT IT INTO THE REALM OF NORMAL PUBLIC HEALTHCARE

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Durban University of Technology (DUT), Professor Thandwa Mthembu cordially invites you to the inaugural professorial lecture of Professor Poovendhree Reddy, Full Professor in the Department of Community Health Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences.

Professor Poovendhree Reddy is currently an Associate Professor in Environmental Health in the Department of Community Health Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences at DUT.

The lecture titled: “Predictive Prevention: Public Health at The Precipice” – is scheduled to take place online, on Thursday, 31 March 2022 from 17:00 to 19:00 on Microsoft Teams.

Her research adopts a multidisciplinary approach to problem solve in the public health space. She is able to draw on her expertise in applied sciences (genetics, microbiology and chemistry) and health sciences (epidemiology and biostatistics) to engage in research related to risk assessment associated with public health. This has included projects in maternal and child health care, biomarkers related to adverse health or environmental effects and water based epidemiology which are all linked to predictive prevention in healthcare. To this end, she has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers, with 37 of these in international journals.

“Despite our best clinical efforts, a substantial portion of healthcare resources is allocated to improving maternal and child health, HIV, TB, diarrheal and other non-communicable diseases. We cannot continue with this business-as-usual model where we win small battles while the war rages on. We need to access a state-of-the-art arsenal using molecular biology and immunology to focus on prevention, and not just cure,” said Prof Reddy.

She further commented that enabling people to understand their health risks in order change behaviours and/or their environment; or seeking early clinical intervention, would significantly decrease morbidity and mortality; thus, reducing the pressure on an already overburdened healthcare system in South Africa. Preventative prediction is thus the overarching focus of her research work.

“Our current work is aligned to the One Health approach in antimicrobial resistance where we are evaluating the presence of multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in wastewater. We intend using wastewater profiling as an early detection and surveillance strategy for community infections and monitoring for antibiotic resistance. Early diagnosis, individual self-management, predicting community susceptibility and disease profiles and knowing where to direct resources and public health interventions are some of the immediate benefits of predictive prevention,” she added.

Prof Reddy also relayed that opportunities within this exciting area are numerous, but there is a need for the will and the want to catapult it into the realm of normal public healthcare.

Biography

Professor Poovendhree (Poovie) Reddy has shared her work at 20 international conferences across the globe and 32 national/regional conferences.  Prof Reddy has secured funding from various entities including the NRF, University of Michigan, Fogarty International, SAMRC and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She won several faculty research awards and the DUT top faculty researcher in 2019. In addition, she is a HESA HELM fellow and SANPAD RCI graduate.

Prof Reddy has graduated 20 postgraduates (Masters and PhD) with a 90% publication rate, i.e., almost all her postgraduates have peer reviewed publications from their research. In addition, she has initiated and engaged in numerous research capacity building initiatives among DUT staff and postgraduate students.

Her contributions to DUT are not restricted to research and undergraduate teaching. She served as the HOD for Community Health Studies from 2011-2013 and led the development of the two Bachelor’s degree programmes within the department. She was also instrumental in developing the generic PhD in Health Sciences and Doctor of Environmental Health and has been involved in DUT policy development. She was also invited to consult on developing learning programmes for Namibia University of Technology, UKZN and the Health Systems Trust. She has served on the DUT Faculty Research committee, the DUT Institutional Research Ethics committee and the UKZN Biosafety Committee for a number of years, and has extensive research ethics training and experience.

Over the years, she has reviewed submissions for over 9 journals and serves on the editorial Board for two international journals. She is affiliated with numerous public health and scientific professional organisations and is currently represents KZN on the South African Association for Health Educationalists’ executive council. Her external commitments have included NRF and WRC reviews, HPCSA EHP advisory and education committee and the Hanell International Advisory Board for Environmental Health.

Pictured: Professor Poovendhree Reddy

Waheeda Peters

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