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07 June 2018 Photo Supplied
Emotional safety during examinations

Mid-year exams have begun and with crunch time comes emotional upheaval. However, it is manageable and should not deter you from the end-goal of succeeding in your studies while maintaining high mental health standards.

“The exam period is a time when stress and anxiety levels are higher than usual. Stress can be positive and help you stay motivated and focused. However, too much stress can be unhelpful and can make you feel overwhelmed, confused, exhausted and edgy,” says Dr Melissa Barnaschone, Director of Student Counselling and Development at the University of the Free State (UFS).

According to Helpguide.Org: Trusted guide to mental & emotional health, “Mental and emotional health is about being happy, self-confident, self-aware, and resilient. People who are mentally healthy are able to cope with life’s challenges and recover from setbacks. But mental and emotional health requires knowledge, understanding, and effort to maintain. If your mental health isn’t as solid as you’d like it to be, here’s the good news: there are many things you can do to boost your mood, build resilience, and get more enjoyment out of life.”

For further details on topics including: Building Better Mental Health, Emotional Intelligence Toolkit, Benefits of Mindfulness, Improving Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Cultivating Happiness, visit the Help Guide. 

Dr Barnaschone has a few tips on how Kovsies can better approach academic anxiety during the examination period. Here is what she has to say:

News Archive

Fighting the tuberculosis battle as a collective
2015-09-28



The team hard at work making South Africa a
healthier place

Tuberculosis (TB) is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent. More than 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Despite being more prevalent among men than women, TB remains one of the top five causes of death amongst women between the ages of 15 and 44 years. While everyone is at risk for contracting TB, those most at risk include children under the age of five and the elderly. In addition, research indicates that individuals with compromised immune systems, household contacts with pulmonary TB patients, and healthcare workers are also at increased risk for contracting TB.

According to the Deputy Director of the Centre for Health Systems Research and Development (CHSR&D) at the UFS, Dr Michelle Engelbrecht, research has found that healthcare workers may be three times more likely to be infected by TB than the general population.

The unsettling fact

“Research done in health facilities in South Africa has found that nurses do not often participate in basic prevention acts, such as opening windows and wearing respirators when attending to infectious TB patients,” she explained. 

In response to this concern, CHSR&D, which operates within the Faculty of Humanities at the the University of the Free State (UFS) Bloemfontein Campus has developed a research project to investigate TB prevention and infection control in primary healthcare facilities and households in Mangaung Metropolitan.

Action to counter the statistics

A team of four researchers and eight field workers from CHSR&D are in the process of gathering baseline data from the 41 primary healthcare facilities in Mangaung. The baseline comprises a facility assessment conducted with the TB nurse, and observations at each of the facilities. Individual interviews are also conducted with community caregivers, as well as TB and general patients. Self-administered questionnaires on knowledge, attitudes, and practices about TB infection control are completed by all nurses and facility-based community caregivers.

Healthcare workers are the main focus of this research, given their increased risk of acquiring TB in healthcare settings. At clinics, interventions will be developed to improve infection control practices by both healthcare workers and patients. TB patients’ households are also visited to screen household contacts for TB. Those found to have symptoms suggesting TB infection are referred to the clinics for further assessment and treatment.

The findings of this study will serve to inform the development of an intervention to address TB prevention and infection control in primary healthcare facilities. Further funding will be sought to implement and evaluate the intervention.

Curbing future infections and subsequent deaths as a result of TB is the priority for the UFS. The cooperation and collaboration of the community, government, and sponsors will ensure that this project is a success, hence prolonging life expectancy.


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