Third year Bachelor of Health Sciences: Medical Laboratory Science impress HOD with their WIL presentations

Velemseni Khumalo, left, and Nonduduzo Magubane

The Department of Biomedical Sciences continues to test the abilities of their students. On 27 November 2023 the department’s students came face to face with judges who did not mince their words when asking questions, or making comments, as the students were making their research-based presentations at the North Campus. The third year Bachelor of Health Sciences: Medical Laboratory Science students were presenting their findings after conducting research at various locations around Durban and further afield. This was part of their work integrated learning (WIL) programme that is five months. Venishree Nundkissor, a Lecturer in the department, said that when students reach their second semester of the third year of study, they are placed in industry for six months. “During the six months they follow a joint placement schedule shared between MUT and DUT students. This is the time when they are exposed to all disciplines of the Biomedical curriculum i.e., Chemistry, Microbiology, Haematology, Cytology, Histology and Virology. At the end of the six months, they complete a mini assessment in industry, as well as do a presentation on various medical topics,” said Nundkissor.

Five groups of students made their presentations. The 2023 WIL presentation competition was won by Nonduduzo Magubane, and Velemseni Khumalo. Their presentation was on Pneumoniae, an infection that inflames the air sacs in the lungs. This problem is spread when those that have it cough, talk, or sneeze, and spread droplets into the air. These droplets are taken in by people in close contact. Khumalo said the research was conducted at Ngwelezane Hospital, in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Khumalo said the main focus of the presentation was to highlight what causes pneumonia, and how it develops in human body, “and mostly important how it is diagnosed at the laboratory, using different  laboratory  tests”. Khumalo also highlighted the necessity for doing the practical part of the programme. He said he learnt a lot from the people that are in the industry. He interviewed 10 people.

The second place was taken by Ntobeko Ndlovu and Minenhle Nkosi. Their presentation was on malaria. Nokwanda Hlela and Londeka Ndaba were placed third.  Their presentation was on anaemia of chronic disorders. Anaemia of chronic disease, also known as ACD, is a type of anaemia that affects people who have conditions that cause inflammation such as infections cancer link, and chronic kidney disease.

Nundkissor said at this annual event the judges are external, “which makes it so much more competitive for students to produce a presentation of a high standard. There is also some nervousness attached as students are being assessed on a professional level”. Nundkissor also said that the WIL programme allows students to be exposed to and choose what discipline they would want to pursue during their 4th year internship on the industry training platform. The number of spaces for 4th year internship is discussed via collaborative meetings between both universities and the industry partners, she said.

The head of the department, Dr Nhlanhla Nsele, said he was impressed by the performance of the students, but said they noted the problems the students have, and would find solutions.