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Voice activated software encourages former students development

Voice activated software encourages former students development


Durban University of Technology’s Faculty of Health Sciences, in partnership with the Aaron Beare Foundation and Non-Ferrous Metals Works, has sponsored equipment and software to give a former Dental Technology student an opportunity to improve her quality of life.

On 4 July last year, Lihle Ngcobo’s life changed after a tragic taxi accident. The bright and ambitious student’s future remained uncertain as doctors battled to save her life. After a week of extensive surgery, she woke up to find herself in the surgical ward of the Intensive Care Unit at Entabeni Life Hospital in Durban. Paralysed from the waist down and with limited function of her hands, she spent the following two months and three weeks in recovery.

Today, the 22-year-old former DUT student suffers with cervical spinal cord injury. Despite her condition, she is grateful to be alive. Since the accident, life has changed dramatically for Lihle. However, with the support of her family and friends, she remains positive about her future.

She said: “On the morning of 4 July, I was on my way to work, I had a part time job as a waitress at Spur at Ushaka Marine World. The taxi I was travelling in was involved in a collision within the Point precinct, I have no recollection of what happened and I am not sure if anyone else was injured. My only memory was of waking up in the Surgical Ward of the ICU in hospital.”

Lihle spent a week in ICU, three weeks in the Surgical Ward and two months in rehabilitation and continues to attend routine neurology and urology assessments and rehabilitation exercises. She said: “I am grateful to be alive. I am coping as I have the support of my family and friends. I hope to see some progress in my hands with rehabilitation exercises. I have met others who also suffer with cervical spinal cord injury and some have regained function of their hands over time.

“I am very grateful to Greg Bass, Faculty of Health Sciences Deputy Dean at DUT and the sponsors of the equipment and voice activated software. It will give me a sense of direction in regards to courses I can apply for to further my studies. Due to my medical health it is virtually impossible for me to complete my studies in Dental Technology.”

Her brother Sihle said their family was still coming to terms with her condition. He said: “While in therapy, she used to play games and engage in activities with others also undergoing rehabilitation. We hope to have her involved in more activities to help further her development.”

Bass said: “We hope the sponsorship of the computer, printer and voice recognition software in conjunction with the training will help to improve Lihle’s quality of life. The equipment and the software, Dragon Naturally Speaking, will be handed over to her on Thursday at a special student luncheon. We are currently trying to find a skilled individual to assist in the voice recognition training.”

Pictured: Faculty of Health Sciences Deputy Dean, Greg Bass together with former Dental Technology student Lihle Ngcobo

For more information, please contact:
Greg Bass, Deputy Dean
Faculty of Health Sciences
Office: 031 373-2033
Mobile: 0834402870