In the past six years since I joined the Department of Ear, Nose and Throat at Steve Biko Academic Hospital it has changed a lot and has taken a new direction. It has always been a good unit under the previous professors and the ENT Department at the University of Pretoria has always been respected as a good learning, research and teaching department.
Like in most departments at UP, there needed to be transformation away from the approach of the previous dispensation and way of thinking under the previous government and politics of the time. In 2008 transformation began and a new theme was developed, as UP was transformed into a new university catering for all the citizens and races of South Africa. This also happened in the Department of ENT under my leadership as HOD and academic professor. I was the first black ENT and among the youngest in the country when I was appointed in the Medunsa Department of ENT in 2001. With this experience, I brought transformation to the postgraduate training of registrars and consultants by giving training to black people and using black consultants – something that was not before done in this department.
- Specialist training – (4 FIRSTS)
Since we started with the training of black specialists we have had many “firsts” in our graduating classes: The first South African College of Medicine candidates, the first black male, first Indian male, first Coloured female and first black female graduates as FCS/MMed specialists. This is a big and proud achievement in just five years under my leadership. In April 2014 we will be graduating the first 3 black MMed specialists in the Department of ENT of the University of Pretoria since its inception.
In 2008/2009 we started to do cochlear implants on patients from poor communities under the Steve Biko Robert Kerr Cochlear Implants Projectwith me as surgical team leader. Since the start of the project we have done 12 implants and the CEO of the hospital, Dr E Kenoshi, and the hospital board are thanked for their support and funding.
- Surgical outcomes in HIV/AIDS patients in ENT Head & Neck area (Expert Centre)
Ø Outcomes – complications, healing
Ø Innovative techniques in management of HIV/AIDS patients (First in Africa and the world) - Endoscopic tonsillectomy.
- Firsts in innovation: A surgical technique in performing faster, 100% dry tonsillectomy procedure in adults. A new innovative tonsillectomy dissection forceps medical device was designed by Prof Tshifularo.
I pioneered and established this journal from our department. Our registrars in training have published in excess of 12 papers in this Journal and also act as editors. The journal also targets a general practitioners (GPs) readership.
- An Innovative benign cystic parotid cyst treatment with Bleomycin and innovative clinical staging has been done in the Department of ENT – Peer review Laryngoscope Journal 2010 (Published, presented at Congress and Posters)
- I believe that “innovate or perish” is innovation, in clinical, teaching research and medical devices. I have patented, designed and have registered under my name:
§ Stapes prosthesis (Doctoral thesis)
§ Middle ear – Prosthesis
§ Grommets + myringotomy
§ Tonsillectomy forceps
§ Clinical innovative treatments
Our future is thrust in innovation (adapt or die) towards excellent internationally recognised solutions - oriented towards problem solving in our community. Our aim is to improve safety, reduce costs and improve efficiency as ENT (Medicine) continue to progress regularly in our communities. Our focus is on HIV/AIDS pandemic surgical outcomes, medical devices development and specialised units. One of our primary projects is Professional Voices and Cochlear Implant – hearing rehabilitation for the future.
Prof M Tshifularo