UKZN is Florida Delegation’s ‘SA University of Choice’

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King Dinuzulu Hospital staff and a visiting
delegation from the Florida Agricultural and
Mechanical University in the United States.

A delegation from the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in the United States was hosted at UKZN – their university of choice – by the Pharmaceutical Sciences discipline recently.

The delegates were on their 2015 spring break immersion into cultural education, with an academic exposure visit scheduled to a ‘respected South African university’ where they would share best practices and explore possible collaboration in the field of pharmaceutical sciences.

The visit included a field trip to one of UKZN’s clinical training sites, King Dinuzulu Hospital Complex, where the delegation was welcomed by hospital management and engaged with UKZN Pharmaceutical Sciences students. They also toured the Discipline’s highly productive research units.

The delegates heard about public sector pharmacy from Hospital Manager, Dr Nirupa Misra, and Deputy Manager, Dr Diwaz Jackpersad, who highlighted the current trends and challenges of South Africa’s pharmaceutical industry, the country’s National Health Insurance mandate, and how the hospital had progressed from being a TB hospital in 1939 to becoming a better established complex today.

The delegation learned that UKZN had affiliated teaching hospitals spread across the province where Health Sciences students received training from University staff in partnership with the Department of Health.

Dr James Moran and Dr Yussif Dokurugu of Florida University’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences compared graduate training at their institution with that available at UKZN, saying similar challenges were faced by their pharmaceutical industry in servicing the public sector, opening up possible research areas that could be pursued at a later stage.

‘The visit is a wonderful opportunity to share ideas for research collaboration, teaching and learning, as well as staff and student exchange,’ said UKZN Pharmaceutical Sciences Acting Academic Leader, Professor Thirumala Govender.

‘We really think we’re ideally placed as a university. We excel in research, teaching and learning and also UKZN is home to cultural diversity,’ she said.

A highly published Researcher in the Pharmaceutical Sciences and Head of the Molecular Modeling and Drug Design Laboratory, the Dean and Head of the School of Health Sciences, Professor Mahmoud Soliman, said community engagement and internationalisation were key strategic goals of the University.

Soliman said: ‘Inviting international bodies to UKZN is a good opportunity to show the international community our expertise, excellence and state-of-the-art facilities.’

Indian Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD candidate who accompanied the delegation, Mr Sandeep Sonawane, said he travelled to South Africa for his postgraduate studies because of UKZN’s reputation for quality postgraduate supervision and world-class facilities.

Sonawane said his research focused on the development of novel nano-particulate drug delivery systems and he enjoyed working with undergraduate students at King Dinuzulu Hospital Complex as a professional assistant.