HPCSA Presidential Health Merit Award Winners 2019

The HPCSA National Conference held in August 2019 saw the gathering of professions regulated by the Council to engage on regulatory matters pertaining to the healthcare environment.

One of the highlights of the Conference was the Awards ceremony recognising individuals who distinguished themselves through their contributions in the advancement and sustainability of the Health Professions Council of South Africa, its mandate and the healthcare industry. The gala dinner and awards ceremony was co-sponsored by ABSA.

The following individuals were recognized as recipients of the HPCSA Presidential Health Merit Awards:

1.Professional Board- Dental Assisting, Dental Therapy & Oral Hygiene Winner: Ms V Amrit

Dr RM Billa (CEO/Registrar), Ms V Amrit (Winner), Mr Oscar Siziba ABSA Bank Managing Executive Coverage: Gauteng and Limpopo.

Dr Amrit has contributed significantly to the professions of dental assisting, dental therapy and oral hygiene during her 13 years on the Board and continues to be a source of information and a reservoir of valuable advice that the current board draws upon periodically. Dr Amrit set high standards for the Board, amongst her many successful initiatives at the HPCSA are the development of minimum education and training guidelines for the three professions and successful registration of the 3 qualifications with SAQA; the development of the scopes of profession and practice for Dental Assistants, Oral Hygienists and Dental Therapists; the Promulgation of Regulation for Independent private practice for Oral Hygienists; and being involved in the evaluation and accreditation of the institutions training Dental Therapists, Oral Hygienists and Dental Assistants.

Dr Amrit was part of a profession that was designed at that time to serve and uplift the disadvantaged communities of the country. She was first employed in 1989 by the then Kwazulu- Natal Government as a Dental Therapist to be part of a team of dental therapists and dentists, oral hygienist and dental assistants primarily involved in providing dental treatment to patients in the rural KZN in areas where services were non-existent. This outreach programme was one of the pilot programmes using mobile dental units in service delivery to schools and clinics, and with the aim of eventually establishing ongoing dental service in these areas.

Through all these experiences and interactions, Dr Amrit realized that these three professions were not a subsidiary of the dental profession, but equal and important role players with a right to independence, autonomy and growth within the Oral Health Profession and Health care team.

2. Professional Board- Dietetics and Nutrition Winner: Prof PMN Kuzwayo

Dr RM Billa (CEO/Registrar), Prof PMN Kuzwayo (Winner), Mr Oscar Siziba ABSA Bank Managing Executive Coverage: Gauteng and Limpopo.

Since 1979 Prof Kuzwayo has been instrumental in the curriculum development of Community Nutrition in the Dietetics programme at the former Medical University of Southern Africa (MEDUNSA). With extensive and long-term experience in both academia, research and community engagement in the field of nutrition, she has made significant contribution to the profession and, especially in the area of nutrition and disease prevention. Prof Kuzwayo’s passion and expertise in public health, community nutrition, primary health and nutrition in development has enhanced the mission of the HPCSA.

Prof Kuzwayo has contributed significantly to the advocacy of the development of various national policies; for example, Food and Nutrition Policy, Community-Based Health Workers Policy, Nutrition in Primary Health Care and Infant Feeding Policy, especially the Breast-feeding Policy and Community based nutrition programmes which included School Nutrition Programmes.

She was awarded the First Mildred Kaufman Visiting Scholar for outstanding contribution in Public Health Nutrition in the 50 years of the Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, and USA. Professor Kuzwayo has served on many committees in her field and out of her field, she has occupied EXCO level posts continue to serve in other industries. A true defender of the community and the DNB Board.

3. Professional Board- Emergency Care Winner: Mr LA Malotana

Dr RM Billa (CEO/Registrar), Mr LA Malotana (Winner), Mr Oscar Siziba ABSA Bank Managing Executive Coverage: Gauteng and Limpopo.

Mr Malotana is currently employed as a Chief Executive Officer of Emergency Medical Services in Gauteng and have been in this role since June 2011.

He has been registered with the HPCSA as an Independent Practitioner in 2004. He has been been involved with medical regulation appointed by the Minister of Health 2011 as the Vice-Chairperson of the Professional Board of Emergency Care and served on various committees of Council (HPCSA). He is the current chairperson of Board of Emergency Care and Vice President of the Health Professions Council of South Africa. He also serves as the Chairperson of the Human Resources and Remuneration Committee (REMCO) of the HPCSA.

He serves and participates in various committees within the department, namely Deputy Chairperson of the Bid Evaluation Committee, Chair of Private Health Licensing Unit, member of Business continuity and relocation committee. Nationally; he serves on National Committee of Emergency Medical Services (NCEMS) a subcommittee NHC Tech.

Mr Malotana serves on various international regulatory structures namely, (i) Chairperson of the Membership, Promotion and Marketing Committee for SADC Medical Regulatory Association (SADC MDRA) and (ii) Member of the Membership Committee for the Association of Medical Councils of Africa (AMCOA). He also participates in various fora under the auspices of the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities (IAMRA).

4. Professional Board- Environmental Health Winner: Prof MS Mukhola

Dr RM Billa (CEO/Registrar), Prof MS Mukhola (Winner), Mr Oscar Siziba ABSA Bank Managing Executive Coverage: Gauteng and Limpopo.

Prof Murembiwa Stanley Mukhola is at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and is an Environmental Health Practitioner by profession. Since his completion of the diploma in 1982, Prof Mukhola had embraced Council’s core values in his daily activities. In fact, these activities that he undertook, had a national impact on the quality of Health Care for example, Prof Mukhola has worked for the Department of Health in Limpopo for 9 years (1982 – 1991). During his work as an EHP, he was interacting with the communities responsible for food control, air pollution and malaria control.  These has impacted the communities around his area positively as he has left the legacy wherein the community, after 28 years is still practising what he taught them – clean environment. As a lecturer he has trained Environmental health practitioners, many of whom are in senior positions in the private and public sectors. Prof Mukhola continue to publish articles in accredited journals, particularly in sanitation and water supply. He has received an award from the Minister of Health for his dedication to environmental issues. Prof Mukhola’s has participated or chaired several University Committees, such as Senate Committees for Teaching and Learning, Senate Committee for integrated learning.

5. Professional Board- Medical and Dental Winner: Dr KH Ismail

Dr RM Billa (CEO/Registrar) with Dr KH Ismail (Winner) and his family and Mr Oscar Siziba ABSA Bank Managing Executive Coverage: Gauteng and Limpopo.

His passion to serve those who are less fortunate is most commendable. Dr Ismail used to travel 60km-120km daily to run Satellite Clinics and Primary Health Care Clinics in out-lying community areas such as Potgietersus, Mateba’s Kraal (Mankweng Area), Houtbosdorp (Moeketse Area), and assisted the Lutheran Clinic. His weekly distribution in the past of blankets, infant milk powder and nutritional sachets to the underprivileged, as a service to combat Marasmus/ Kwashiorkor is most honoured.  It is so noted that Dr Khalid Ismail was ahead of his time, when he had a firm commitment to equal education for women in the community and advocated for women to be given equal opportunities to study at tertiary institutions, even when such views were unpopular in a conservative community. Dr Khalid Ismail has funded in his own personal capacity, a number of medical students (Female and Male) whom today are highly qualified doctors, and who were unable to afford tertiary education. The supporting testimonials for Dr Ismail speak volumes in terms of the respect from his colleagues, friends and family, his altruism is clearly reflected in the praises received in the various testimonials received from colleagues, friends, family and even people outside the profession in support of his nomination.

6. Professional Board- Medical Technology Winner: Ms R Bridgemohan

Dr RM Billa (CEO/Registrar), Ms R Bridgemohan (Winner), Mr Oscar Siziba ABSA Bank Managing Executive Coverage: Gauteng and Limpopo.

As Chair and vice-chair of the Professional Board for Medical Technology, and having served on various executive portfolios, Ms Bridgemohan is considered to be a passionate, committed and dedicated Medical Technologist whose vision and clear thinking, coupled with a balanced, considered approach to matters and her ability to turn her knowledge and experience is reflected in her immense contribution to the field of Medical Technology. Ms Bridgemohan serves on various committees where resolution and decisions are made for professional development. Her input was pivotal in the Minister’s promulgation and establishment of the register for Medical Technicians. She has been instrumental in communication to all the boards’ stakeholders. She has guided and provided invaluable input from registration of the professions to accreditation of institutions offering training. Her well-grounded knowledge and hands-on attitude is inspiring, and she is still sought after to educate practitioners on clinical facilities requirements for accreditation. Ms Bridgemohan has also commented and provided input in pathology management practices to give the field some measure of regulation.

7. Professional Board- Occupational Therapy, Medical Orthotics, Prosthetics & Arts Therapy Winner: Prof R Crouch

Dr RM Billa (CEO/Registrar), Prof R Crouch (Winner), Mr Oscar Siziba ABSA Bank Managing Executive Coverage: Gauteng and Limpopo.

Prof Crouch and 4 other Board Chairpersons, represented the HPCSA in developing the Human Resources for Health plan for South Africa (2006). She has convened the Psychiatric Occupational Therapy Support Group for OTs working in psychiatry in 1985, through which she provided mentorship to OTs, and initiated its biennial symposium. The has set the foundation for this still thriving group but has handed the baton to others to follow. Professor Crouch’s PhD studies resulted in developing a validated community-based stress management tool, which advanced sustainability in mental healthcare in under-resourced community-based areas. Started the Crouch Trust, which provides scholarships towards occupational therapy research in the field of psychiatry. She has peer reviewed articles, both in local and international journals.

She is the co-editor of 5 editions of “Occupational Therapy in Psychiatry and Mental Health” which has been a seminal work for occupational therapists since 1990.

She co-edited “Occupational Therapy: An African perspective”, the only book of its kind.

She has consistently presented at international and local conferences during her career, most recently at the WFOT 2018 International OT Congress.

Her publication “The Occupational Therapy Contribution to the Care, Treatment and Rehabilitation of Patients at the Smith Mitchell, Life Care and Esidimeni Institutions/Care Centres” was adopted by the Life Esidimeni Inquiry. Prof Crouch has been involved in the professional organisation and regulation of Occupational Therapy (OT) in various roles since 1982, both locally and internationally, and mentored OTs and other health professionals: she continues to evaluate training programmes, examine foreign qualified practitioners.

8. Professional Board- Optometry & Dispensing Opticians Winner: Ms V Moodley

Dr RM Billa (CEO/Registrar), Ms V Moodley (Winner), Mr Oscar Siziba ABSA Bank Managing Executive Coverage: Gauteng and Limpopo.

Ms Vanessa R. Moodley (PhD, M.Optom, B.Optom, CAS), a senior lecturer at the University of Kwa Zulu Natal in South Africa has dedicated much of her time serving her profession in various leadership roles.  She served two 5-year terms on the regulatory body as Chairperson of the Professional Board for Optometry and Dispensing Opticians in SA and, in her role as a Councillor on the Health Professions Council of South Africa, chaired the Business Practices Committee. She has served as a member of the standards generation body for optometry and serves on professional conduct committees.

She currently serves on the Legislation, Regulation and Standards Committee of the World Council for Optometry, is the Education Chairperson for the African Council for Optometry, is a honorary life member of the Optometric Association of India and is the co-founder of the Keratoconus Foundation of South Africa.  Her commitment to lead initiatives towards transforming optometric education globally to become more socially accountable and to enhance the quality of optometric education in Africa led her to develop a Socially Accountable Quality Assurance Framework for Optometric Education (SAQAFOE).  Ms Moodley has presented numerous papers at national and international conferences and published many scholarly articles.

9. Professional Board- Physiotherapy, Podiatry and Biokinetics Winner: Dr J Diener

Dr RM Billa (CEO/Registrar), Dr J Diener (Winner), Mr Oscar Siziba ABSA Bank Managing Executive Coverage: Gauteng and Limpopo.

Dr Ina Diener has served the profession of Physiotherapy exceptionally well both in her service to the South African Society of Physiotherapy (SASP) in general, and more specifically to the Orthopaedic Manipulation Therapy Group (OMT), as well as a clinician, academic and a gifted teacher.

Her upbeat personality, exceptional organisational skills and perseverance to complete any job, no matter how challenging, has made her a significant force in the development of OMT in SA. She has established liaisons with many International lecturers and academics, which has greatly enriched the Physio, Podiatry and Biokenetics profession in this country. Dr Diener has been actively involved in the SASP starting with the early days of the Winelands Group before it became a formal branch. As chairperson of the Quality Improvement Portfolio of the National Executive Committee of the SASP, Dr Diener was instrumental in drawing up guidelines for evidence-based practice and standards of physiotherapy practice. She is also on the Standards Generating Board Task team. She has published several papers in a variety of journals, both in SA and overseas and has presented papers at many conferences/congresses again in SA and overseas and continues to give CPD courses at various centres in the country on various OMT related topics.

10. Professional Board- Psychology Winner: Prof S Cooper

Dr RM Billa (CEO/Registrar), Prof S Cooper (Winner), Mr Oscar Siziba ABSA Bank Managing Executive Coverage: Gauteng and Limpopo. 

Prof Sathasivan (Saths) Cooper has significantly contributed to the HPCSA, especially in the areas of mentoring and providing Council, board and committee services to the HPCSA. Prof Cooper Chaired the regulatory Professional Board for Psychology at the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) in 1999 and was Vice President of the HPCSA. He has since served on various committees and still actively participates when called upon. Prof Cooper is the first psychologist from Africa to be elected an officer of IUP syS (Vice President in 2004), he was elected IUPsyS President in July 2012, becoming the only psychologist from outside Western Europe and the USA to lead this prestigious international scientific and professional body. When his term expired in July 2016, Cooper was unanimously retained for an unprecedented two more years.

Throughout this time, he had supported and collaborated with the HPCSA at this international and global level. He also ensured that the HPCSA was represented and participated with the global stakeholders.He has played a huge part in mentoring health practitioners in this country. Not only through workshops and formal engagements but also by inviting them to collaborate and participate within the international health arena. Prof Coopers’ mentoring is not limited to those in health leadership, but he is particularly interested in mentorship in health at socio-political and community level. 

11. Professional Board- Radiography & Clinical Technology Winner: Dr E Vermaak

Dr RM Billa (CEO/Registrar), Dr E Vermaak (Winner), Mr Oscar Siziba ABSA Bank Managing Executive Coverage: Gauteng and Limpopo.

Dr Vermaak has 23 years’ experience in working as a Clinical Technologist, at the Free State Academic Hospitals where he trained clinical students, medical students and specialist physicians in Pulmonoloy as a member of the lecturer’s team. Dr Vermaak set up a Pulmonology laboratory at the Pelonomi Hospital and requested that the appointment of Clinical technology students be open to all. Dr Vermaak is instrumental in supporting three Technikons and the HPCSA to develop the current B Tech degree to open postgraduate studies in clinical technology. Dr Vermaak and colleagues implemented a well-documented viable work integrated system to monitor and assess clinical technologists in training. He was co- opted to the professional Board for Radiography and Clinical Technology. He received his doctorate in clinical technology in 2014 from the CUT. His study addressed the effect of nutrition on the immunity and the lung function of HIV infected individuals. His presentation was well received at the European Congress for nutrition. Over 600 students have benefitted in some way or the other in terms of the transfer of knowledge in the Clinical technology field. 

12. Professional Board- Speech Language and Hearing Professions Winner: Prof S Singh

Dr RM Billa (CEO/Registrar), Prof S Singh (Winner), Mr Oscar Siziba ABSA Bank Managing Executive Coverage: Gauteng and Limpopo.

She is currently an associate professor and has worked as head of the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and Head: Communication Sciences and Disorders. She has served the healthcare industry, at industry-specific, local and international level. Her joint publications and single publications highlight key and current issues. Professor Singh has earned this award by being nominated by her fellow colleagues who have certainly noticed and acknowledged her accomplishments.

As the Head of Division – she has strengthened the Education and Training of Speech Language Professions and Audiology graduates by developing a constructively aligned curriculum based on constructivism to produce high caliber graduates. Engaged with many recruitment initiatives to diversify the student population of the programme – which led to significant changes in the demographic profile – initially of undergraduates and later post graduate students. Whilst chairing the Board she consulted extensively and with consensus from all stakeholders to revise the scope of professions of Speech Language Professions and (ii) Audiology, she has also worked with all training institutions to ensure that institutions align their demographic profile of the students to that of the country. She has been instrumental in the revision of certain curriculums; she has compiled guidelines for evaluation and accreditation of training institutions. Prof Singh participated in the compilation of the HPCSA’S various Ethical Booklets. As a chair of the CPD committee Prof Singh championed the various activities within the committee and compiled the Maintenance of Licence (MoL) Reference document for the HPCSA to support the development and piloting of MoL.