CUT researchers offer an African perspective on the international front


University of Washington welcomed over 1100 attendees at the 26th Annual International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) conference in Seattle, Washington from 24 to 28 August. Two of the Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) academic staff and researchers, Jane Nkhebenyane and Dr Ntsoaki Malebo from the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences formed part of the participants.

Jane Nkhebenyane, a lecturer at the Department of Life Sciences, received a travel award from the conference organisers. The ISEE invited these academics to attend this international conference as a statement of support for their contribution in epidemiology research. They both shared their research activities with experts in the field across the globe. Their research focus was on air quality and its impact on food safety in health care environment.

The theme for this year’s conference was: From Local to Global (Advancing Science for Policy in Environmental Health). The conference looked at how delegates could make use of the theme to deal effectively with air pollution in the environment and its impact on health. It also provided an outlet for the discussion of problems unique to the study of health and environment.

The role of ISEE was to bring together academics from all over the world to monitor the epidemiological trends and come up with solutions. The highlight of the conference was the establishment of the African chapter, which signifies the collaboration between African and other international scientists. Furthermore, it will also provide access to training facilities in the top-of-the-range laboratories for students and their mentors.

Funding will also be availed to staff and student exchange programmes under the chapter. Dr Malebo said that the newly established forum intends to emulate this model by establishing an ISEE affiliate in Sub-Saharan region. “Through this initiative we hope to promote the objectives of ISEE in an attempt to provide a variety of forums for discussions and collaborations. We will mobilise our peers in order to forge a mutual relationship, participation and networking through workshops and seminars for our academic growth in this field,” she concluded.

The chapter addresses the recently adopted CUT Internationalization strategy which intends to expose the university’s innovations globally so that the world will look up to CUT for solutions.