Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Education And Training

Scholarships and mentoring up for grabs for SA’s next generation of healthcare heroes


Healthcare workers who recently started working or are studying towards a career in healthcare, have an opportunity to benefit from the guidance and support of a mentor thanks to an innovative programme offered by Adcock Ingram OTC.

Adcock Ingram OTC’s ‘Sponsors of Brave: The Next Generation’ programme is a platform to assist healthcare students financially in their studies, provide them with mentorship from academic, professional and industry leaders, and subsequently promote their career development in the healthcare sector.

In the first season of the programme, Adcock Ingram OTC celebrated unsung heroes from the country’s health system, profiling professionals from private practice to civil service, from academia, pharmacy and the nonprofit sector. The second season is in full swing and is looking for the next generation of healthcare heroes.

Every week, until November 25, a new nominee is chosen and featured as part of Adcock Ingram OTC’s ‘Sponsors of Brave: The Next Generation’ programme. Ten nominees will be selected and they will be paired with a selected mentor for career development, besides also standing a chance to win one of two R25,000 scholarships.

Veneshley Samuels, University of Cape Town PHD candidate is the second of the 10 upcoming feature nominees.“As a South African woman from a previously disadvantaged background, I aim to develop tools that can be useful to combat diseases that are endemic in our country – and that is my main goal,” said Samuels.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global TB report, between 215,000 and 400,000 people contract TB in South Africa, with the disease claiming an estimated 78, 000 lives a year. On that note, Samuels noted that many families, living in close quarters together, contract TB and this has driven her to want to specialise in this branch of research. She was paired with mentor Dr Andani Mulelu, a biochemist and research scientist at the University of Cape Town’s Drug Discovery and Development Research Unit.

Mulelu’s field of study is molecular biology, protein engineering and structural biology which he is applying towards developing a rapid test to diagnose TB.”Veneshley has shown a lot of courage. During the lockdown, while most of us were at home, Veneshley was in the field collecting clinical samples from TB patients. I really do believe Veneshley is going to be someone who changes the landscape of medicine in South Africa,” said Mulelu.

Karen Dreyer, board member at the Melkbos Care Centre, believes Samuels is a hero for the future for working on a solution to a big problem in South Africa and Africa in general.“I really do believe Veneshley is going to be someone who changes the landscape of medicine in South Africa,” said Dreyer.

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