SAMHS hosts academic symposium

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The SA National Defence Force’s fourth component – the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) – earlier this month gathered at the Military Health Training Formation in Thaba Tshwane for its annual academic symposium.

Lieutenant Colonel Palesa Majavu reported for SAMHS Corporate Communication that the Surgeon General Academic Days is an annual event affording multi-disciplinary Health Care Professionals (HCPs) the opportunity for education, training and development in matters related to military medicine, where guest speakers are invited to share the latest research studies and developments.

The 2023 edition of the event took place from 19 to 21 September, with 150 attendees from Gauteng and others joining the conference virtually.

The 2023 conference was hosted under the theme “Back to basics”. The objective was to revisit and discuss SAMHS related clinical protocols as well as any other recent research conducted by SAMHS members.

The Surgeon General of the South the South African National Defence Force, Lieutenant General Ntshavheni Peter Maphaha, in his opening remarks said, “The South African Military Health Service aligns itself to the Batho Pele Principles, guiding public health service delivery in the Department of Defence, emphasizing health care, environmental protection, patient rights and health care system utilization”.

He continued, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely absence of disease or infirmity. It is a fundamental human right of every human being, without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social circumstances or background and that the attainment of the highest possible level in the promotion and protection of health by any state is of value for all”.

Amongst attending guests was Professor Flavia Senkubuge from the University of Pretoria, who gave a keynote address on “The quadruple burden of disease in South Africa.” Major G Gold from the South African Army presented on “SANDF members; coping strategies when they present with the signs and symptoms related to adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder”. Within the SAMHS there were about 27 professionals who presented their research papers on different topics.

Majavu reported that the event allowed military health practitioners to select the best researchers and research topics for presentation at international conferences such as the International Conference in Military Medicine (ICMM).

Major General Mphikeleni Simelane in his closing remarks said, “the symposium is pivotal because most of the recommendations will be used to review policies in order to shape the future of health service in the SANDF. I therefore urge all members of the South African Military Health Service to get back to basics in order to improve efficiency, effectiveness and synergy of effort”.

In his closing, he announced Major CKK Mathobela as the winner of the best research paper, on Antimicrobial Resistance, ‘a silent killer’, which has been exacerbated by excessive antibiotic use in the rearing of chickens.

Major CKK Mathobela receives an award for best research paper.