Community

We love South Africa and its people. That’s why we partner with others to help better the lives of more South Africans. Read more about the healthcare heroes in our community and how they’re changing the lives of others for the better.

Changing our ways of working: The ‘Leadership in Action’ initiative

In 2019, Professor Louis Jenkins received a Discovery Foundation Rural Institutional Award to help George Hospital implement a sustainable leadership development model based on the Academy of Business in Society’s Values driven Leadership in Action programme.

#PayItForward: Discovery gives 800 meals a week to communities in need

theforum@discovery has opened its kitchens and facilities to provide 800 meals a week to communities in the dire grips of hunger as a result of COVID-19. The executive events team has also started a second initiative to give essential items to people in need.

8 young doctors to watch: The future of rural healthcare is in good hands

This Youth Month, we celebrate Umthombo Youth Development Foundation scholars who are determined to improve rural healthcare in their communities. From GPs and dentists to aspiring neurosurgeons and more, these young leaders are the ones to watch.

“I wish to see rural youth taking up space on earth”

Mxolisi Xulu is a fifth-year medical student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, an ambassador for his family and community, and the founder of an NGO called Black Child’s Dreams Matter. It’s easy to see why this Umthombo scholar and future doctor is one to watch.

"We understand our communities better than anyone else”

Discovery asked the Umthombo Youth Development Foundation to identify eight young doctors or medical students who they think will have a big impact in the future. That’s how we met Nokwanda Mathonsi, a student who wants to transform rural healthcare.

Aspiring neurosurgeon with big dreams of helping his community

A young doctor to watch: Dumisani Mthembu, a sixth-year medical student at the University of Pretoria, hopes to specialise in neurosurgery, particularly paediatric neurosurgery, once he completes his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree.

Fifth-year medical student set to take the world by storm

Meet Simphiwe Phungula, a fifth-year medical student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal with big plans to improve healthcare in rural areas. She’s currently doing a study with an international university on how COVID-19 is affecting students’ behaviour.

Filling a dire need for dental healthcare in rural KwaZulu-Natal

Discovery asked the Umthombo Youth Development Foundation to tell us about doctors making a big impact in their communities. Meet Dr Sabelo Mngomezulu, a dentist who strives to improve the quality of life of the people of Ingwavuma, KwaZulu-Natal.

“We must become heroes of our own life stories” – Dr Phelelani Dludla

Dr Phelelani Dludla, a medical officer at Benedictine District Hospital in rural KwaZulu-Natal, is passionate about the mental wellbeing of his patients and improving healthcare in his community. His keen sense of purpose makes him a young doctor to watch.

“Being a doctor was my mom’s dream” – trailblazer Dr Lungile Hobe

Becoming a doctor was Dr Lungile Hobe’s way of giving back to her mother. Today, the young doctor has an impressive list of achievements and ambitious plans to improve the quality of healthcare in her rural community of Mseleni, where she grew up.

Young doctor to watch: Dr Mfanukhona Nyawo strives to uplift the youth

Discovery asked the Umthombo Youth Development Foundation to identify young doctors who are making an impact in their communities. That’s how we met Dr Mfanukhona Nyawo, a medical officer at Bethesda Hospital, Umthombo graduate and youth role model.

Cardiologist inspired by a committed rural doctor

In 2019, Dr Zakariya Badat received a Rural Individual Fellowship Award from the Discovery Foundation to conduct a study on how to improve the management and outcomes of patients with heart attacks at Wentworth Hospital in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

Finding a link between diarrhoea and HIV infection in children

Diarrhoea is a leading cause of death in children under five, especially in under-resourced communities. That’s why Dr Mani Chiliwe applied for a Discovery Foundation Rural Fellowship Award to find better ways to treat children with prolonged diarrhoea.

Overcoming the odds – the incredible journey of Discovery’s first MGH Fellow

Having been exposed to the high standard of research and care at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, trailblazing Discovery Fellow Dr Neliswa Gogela is determined to apply her learnings. She also wants to teach others to combine clinical practice with kindness and care.

Taking away the suffering of little children

Dr Boitumelo Pitso has received a Discovery Foundation Sub-Specialist Award to study Paediatric Pulmonology. She hopes to improve the quality of life of children with chronic lung diseases who often battle with coughing, sleeplessness and poor concentration.

Making a heartfelt difference in patients with high blood pressure

Armed with a Discovery Foundation Rural Individual Fellowship Award, Dr Trenton Oliver is determined to raise awareness on hypertension, or high blood pressure, and to educate patients in KwaZulu-Natal on how and when to take their medicine.

Dr Denzil Schietekat advocates for better care for Hanover Park’s elderly

Caring for his terminally-ill godmother in an underserved retirement home on the Cape Flats as an intern and helping his late Anglican lay-minister father give communion there as a child were seminal influences for internal medicine physician Dr Denzil Schietekat.

Celebrating our #HealthHeroes: Umthombo nursing graduates make a big difference in society

This International Nurses Day, we celebrate two of Umthombo Youth Development Foundation’s nursing graduates who are making a difference in their community: Nobuhle Menyuka, nurse and role model, and Zamani Dlamini, a leader in the fight against TB.

Umthombo students overcome great odds to become healthcare professionals

Helping students from rural KwaZulu-Natal qualify as healthcare professionals is about more than providing scholarships. At Umthombo, dedicated mentors empower students to overcome challenges, build resilience and take care of their mental health.

Orange Farm youth create a better future for themselves

In 2018, Discovery volunteers taught 60 learners from Aha Thuto Secondary School in Orange Farm how to solve problems using design thinking. This year, Discovery visited 10 learners who had come up with innovative solutions to address food security.

Finding better ways of helping children fight TB

Dr Vishesh Sood, a final-year radiology registrar working at the Red Cross Children’s War Memorial Hospital in Cape Town, received a Discovery Foundation Award to investigate the value of using an abdominal ultrasound to diagnose TB in children.

Building a community of healthcare workers one student at a time

Like any hero's journey, the Umthombo Youth Development Foundation faced many challenges in its quest to create a community of healthcare workers. Read this inspiring story of a community investing in each other to reshape the future of rural healthcare.

Creating respectful maternity care advocates in Limpopo

Dr Joy Summerton is so passionate about providing excellent care to mothers and their newborn babies in Limpopo that she received a Discovery Foundation Award in 2019 to train healthcare workers on respectful maternity care.

 
 
 
 
 
 

The Eastern Cape's first foetal medicine candidate hopes to save lives

When 2019 Discovery Foundation Sub-Specialist Award recipient Dr Nontsikelelo Gubu-Ntaba was still in high school, her mother completed a Bachelor of Education degree. Seeing her mother pursue her dreams has inspired Dr Gubu-Ntaba to study further.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Discovery underpins transformative KZN wellspring initiative

In March 2019 Discovery hosted a conference aimed at encouraging fellow corporates to join in pooling resources for social impact. In this series, we look at the transformation that occurs when companies and organisations become partners for social good.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Hlokomela: a case study in partnership excellence

The Hlokomela programme, built around the passion of Christine du Preez, a nursing sister married to a Limpopo fruit farmer, is an impressive demonstration of the power of strategic partnerships for social good.

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Discovery Award boosts treatment of pulmonary vascular disease

Dr Brian Allwood, a senior pulmonologist was granted the Discovery Foundation MGH award and recently returned to South Africa to share his year-long learning in the United States

 
 
 
 
 
 

Bringing medical excellence home: Dr Allwood’s ambition to raise the bar

Back home a year since returning from 12 months of Discovery Fellowship-funded training in America, Dr Allwood is thrilled that his new skills are saving lives. His mission: to raise the bar of medical excellence in SA.

 
 
 
 
 
 

One doctor’s vision to expand research tailored to Africa

It took a year abroad for Dr Salome Maswime to grasp the value of global health advocacy: participating is key to representing African interests at an international policy level. And, making us all proud this #WomensMonth, that’s just what she intends to do.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Discovery Fellows bring cutting-edge medicine to SA shores

The Discovery Foundation MGH Fellowship Award – valued at R2.1 million – enables a specialist clinician to experience Harvard Medical School’s largest teaching hospital for a year. We caught up with our five Fellows here to learn what impact they’re making.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Dr Maswime brings home global learnings in women’s health

Millions of childbearing women in SA are HIV-infected, but there is hope. The return of Dr Salome Maswime after a Discovery-funded year in America studying placental pathology with the world’s best clinicians will no doubt save even more lives.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Dr Chetty embraces the chance to ease SA's pain burden

Since arriving in Boston on June 2019 to study pain management, anaesthesiologist Dr Sean Chetty is slowly settling into the new way of life - and is excited about what his Discovery Fellowship-funded year has in store.

Persevering against the odds to save critically ill children

Sometimes a single carefully focussed intervention – like funding the training of an intensivist for an under-staffed, under-equipped intensive care unit at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha – can be the catalyst for dynamic change.

Vitamin deficiency evidence – a likely gamechanger in mental health

Megan Schultz’s research on the nutritional state of mentally ill patients could significantly improve the lives of many people, especially if bolstered by evidence-based policies and changes in nutrition-related laws.

Easing the mental health hardships of rural mothering

Dr Nokwazi Mtshengu’s Discovery Fellowship Award is helping her translate to isiXhosa a globally accredited psychiatric tool to assess postpartum depression, which will benefit depressed mothers, the infant, family and broader community.

Eastern Cape doctor receives Discovery Foundation Award to research catatonia

Psychiatric registrar Dr Carmenita Groves says her analysis of arguably the largest cohort of patients diagnosed with catatonia in South Africa, observing their presentation, management and outcomes, is already boosting referrals at Dora Nginza Hospital.

Discovery Foundation alumni drive mental healthcare for all

Since its inception, the Discovery Foundation has invested in doctors and academics who are making a positive contribution to mental healthcare in South Africa. These mental health heroes are striving to make mental health more accessible for all.

Celebrating the mental health heroes of Discovery

To wrap up Mental Health Awareness Month, we honour a few of our mental health heroes – five Discovery Foundation Awards alumni and one supervisor whose positive contribution to mental healthcare has had a ripple effect across South Africa.

When a big brother makes all the difference

Dr Nyaweleni Tshifularo’s 2019 Discovery Foundation Distinguished Visitor Award allows him to help improve the knowledge and skills of all clinicians in both general surgery and paediatrics at the Polokwane Mankweng Hospital Complex.

Overcoming huge odds to help others fight TB

While believing that education is one of the key strategies in addressing poverty, disease and crime in South Africa, specialist physician and pulmonologist Dr Donald Simon says experience has taught him that knowledge is not necessarily power.

Taking small strategic steps to move a mountain

Dr Tumiso Malatji has received a Discovery Foundation Rural Institutional Award to fund a project that will evaluate and improve the management of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes at primary healthcare level at selected clinics in Limpopo.

Boosting Limpopo’s child cancer survival rate

It was during her paediatric department rotation at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University in 2003 that South Africa’s first black female paediatric oncologist, Dr Vhutshilo Netshituni, fell in love with children.

Helping sexual assault survivors in her community

Dr Yandiswa Mnyanda, armed with her Discovery Foundation Rural Individual Fellowship Award, is determined to make a difference in her community by finding out why survivors of sexual violence in the Eastern Cape report so late for care.

Making a difference for Mthatha’s children

With his Discovery Foundation Rural Individual Fellowship Award, Dr Andrew Oyemwimina investigated the prevalence of HIV infection among paediatric patients who were admitted to hospital in 2016 – the first study of its kind in the Eastern Cape.

Measuring the rural health impact of a game-changing mobile app

Dr Natasha Blanckenberg is using her Discovery Foundation Rural Individual Fellowship Award to study the impact of the Vula app, which enables faster, more efficient specialist advice and referrals for patients in remote rural healthcare facilities.

Fighting prostate cancer with nuclear medicine

How can nuclear medicine change the way doctors detect and treat prostate cancer? This is the question at the heart of nuclear physician Dr Thabo Lengana’s PhD research that earned him a Discovery Foundation Academic Fellowship Award.

Training to help KwaZulu-Natal children fight cancer

Dr Kershinee Reddy has received a Discovery Foundation Sub-Specialist Award to study Paediatric Oncology at Stellenbosch University. She’s determined to return to KwaZulu-Natal after her training to help children fight cancer.

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