On the 31th August, a group of lecturers (Prof T. Matjila, DR’s H .Stoltsz, K. Govindasamy and I. van Wyk) supported by admin staff (Mrs M Maphoso and M Gouws) from the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases (DVTD) and Hans Hoheisen Wildlife Research Station (HHWRS) Faculty of Veterinary Science (FVS) hosted a One Health workshop with learners from Mungena High School. The FVS under the University of Pretoria (UP) runs the Hluvukani Animal Clinic, a community clinic that provides veterinary services to the people of Hluvukani and surrounds. The Mungena High School is in close proximity of the clinic and was therefore approached to host the workshop. Forty learners from various grades were asked to prepare posters on various topics, such as cattle, dogs, humans, drinking water, and the environmental health beforehand. The learners had to identify aspects of their topics that point to either a healthy or unhealthy state of each topic, as well as factors that result in or remedy an unhealthy status.
On Saturday morning learners, teachers, lecturers and environmental monitors from UP met at the school and the learners had the opportunity to present their posters. They all did an exceptional job and it was clear the learners did their homework in researching their topics.
It was interesting that the learner’s identified similar issues that affect the topics of their presentations, such as littering, poor nutrition and disease. It became clear from the learners perspective that human health, animal health and environmental health are all related and dependent on each other especially in communities that live at the interface of expansive conservation areas, such as the Bushbuckridge community?
We look forward to the next One Health workshop next year.
Here are some of the observations made by the lecturers during the workshop:
“It is very exciting to see how much knowledge the children gained from preparing their posters and also learned from the other teams’ presentations. One group even reported that they are no longer scared of goats just by learning more about them” Dr Ilana Van Wyk; 2019
“There is an exuberant joy in me, in response to intelligence, passion, enthusiasm, curiosity on the subject and overarching patriotism for South Africa, displayed in the learners on the day. The humility of the teachers and principal in their role in the learners’ level of competency, was another striking feature” Dr Krpasha Govindasamy
“This was a worthwhile educational experience for the learners (and us) in understanding the interconnectedness of their health to that of their animals and their environment. Healthy people, Healthy animals and Healthy environment was the moto of the day. We are grateful to the principal, the governing body, teachers and more importantly the learners of Mungena high school for giving us the opportunity as a department under FVS to fulfil our social responsiveness mandate”. Prof Matjila, (HOD; DVTD) 2019.
- Author By Ilana van Wyk (HHWRS); Hein Stoltsz, Krpasha Govindasamy and Tshepo Matjila