While World AIDS Day may place the spotlight firmly on the fact that South Africa boasts one of the highest rates of HIV infection, there is hope when one considers the future leaders in the management of the HIV/AIDS pandemic emerging from the country’s foremost tertiary institutions. One such example is Ureshnie Govender, who is completing her Postgraduate Diploma in Management specialising in HIV/AIDS and Health at Monash South Africa (MSA). Driven by a passion for the delivery of bench-to-bedside technology and ensuring life-changing concepts and products reach patients in need, there can be no doubt that Dr Govender will find herself assisting in the management of South Africa’s fight against HIV/AIDS in the near future.
Focussed HIV AIDS management studies such as the MSA postgraduate diploma - which doesn’t require prior medical studies to enroll - provides students with much needed skills to manage the country’s pandemic within the context of healthcare organisations. Govender is no stranger to the inner workings of these entities, as she is currently a senior researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). By completing her current studies, she hopes to combine her research experience with strong management skills to support the important role she has to play in healthcare and medical sciences. “Good management and inspired leadership are critical to research, programmes and systems put in place to manage the health and wellbeing of South African citizens living with HIV and other diseases,” says Govender.
Growing up, Govender always wanted to be a medical doctor working with patients and she says, “I am passionate about improving the lives of people. Ultimately, although I didn’t study to be a practicing doctor, I did follow the path of medical research, and I have I focussed my energies on medical sciences. I certainly chose the right pathway because I have loved the learning process and I am particularly proud of adding value and insight to the pool of knowledge that supports medical sciences, as well as people around the world.”
With an estimated 34-million people around the world living with HIV/AIDS and 67% of those cases coming from Sub-Saharan Africa despite representing only 12% of the world’s population, the need for the skills and passion displayed by this student of HIV AIDS Management have never before been more pressing. “I believe that good management is pivotal to well-run science, research and medical programmes. I wish to advance my skills in healthcare management in HIV and other diseases to play a more strategic role in driving programmes and research towards improved healthcare”.
Govender is most inspired by Mahatma Ghandi’s call to, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Her firm belief that, “education is invaluable because the more we know, the more we can do to improve our lives and the lives of those around us,” is proof indeed that she lives this ethos with the commitment and dedication needed to tackle the HIV/AIDS crisis.