Anova puts rural research in the spotlight

The annual Provincial Research Day organised by the Limpopo Department of Health was held on October 28 in Polokwane. After the opening address by the MEC, a broad variety of research conducted by the Limpopo academic institutions, hospitals and non-governmental organisations was presented.

Anova was well represented during the day, with Prof Remco Peters chairing the afternoon session of the programme on behalf of the Limpopo Health Research Committee. The three presentations made by Anova emphasised the importance of conducting research in rural settings and highlighted the capacity that Anova has developed in that area through its project in Mopani District.

Prof Peters, head of Anova’s research programme, says: "It is imperative to address the health needs of our rural communities as there may be very different from people living in the city. Anova has key expertise in how to conduct high quality research in these rural settings."

Nireshni Naidoo presented data on the reach of community health workers and showed that this is an important structure in support of the HIV programme. Phumzile Sithole showed that sexually transmitted infections are very common among women living in deep-rural areas and that a mobile clinic could contribute to sexual health improvement using a syndromic or diagnostic approach.

Finally, Magdeline Kekana presented data of a cheap and easy-to-implement intervention, using coloured stickers, to improve HIV viral load taking at healthcare facilities.

Prof Peters adds: "Conducting high-quality research in rural settings is not always easy, but these projects show that it can be done and that important, relevant information can be obtained."

The research day was a great success and Anova is looking forward to presenting exciting new research next year.

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