UWC tackles tough issues troubling kids. Picture: Xinhua
University students have spent several weeks with school pupils in disadvantaged areas to tackle health problems.

The six-week community outreach project ended with second-year health students from the University of the Western Cape (UWC) presenting their findings.

They visited schools in Delft, Belhar and Wesbank, where they investigated common and troubling issues faced by children in those communities.

Dr Firdouza Waggie, who heads the interdisciplinary education unit at UWC, launched the project at the university this year with the health science faculties.

“This was a pilot project and unique in the sense that it brought together two faculties, namely dentistry and the community and health sciences faculty, in collaborating and addressing social ills, health-oriented problems and issues in communities,” said Waggie.

Occupational therapy student Zenande Ncentani, said that the project left a lasting effect on those who participated.

“The experience was empowering to us, even though it was for a short period; we felt we could make more of an impact and make it sustainable,” said Ncentani.

The students were asked to use their research and investigations to design a poster outlining their findings.

The poster had to include the context of the findings, outcomes, experiences and a conclusion.

Some of the issues that were presented in their posters were: personal development, a holistic approach to bullying, alcohol and substance abuse, sex education, hygiene, peer pressure and youth development.

The posters were peer reviewed and the students who created the top poster will win a trip to the 2018 Network Towards Unity for Health Conference in Ireland.

They will have the opportunity to present their findings to the delegates at the conference, as well as participate in an information-sharing session.