Harvard professor opens colloquium at Kovsies

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The University of the Free State (UFS) presented a one-day colloquium recently, with Prof. Arthur Kleinman, world-renowned academic from the Harvard University, delivering the opening address.

Prof. Kleinman’s speech entitled, “Care giving: Revitalising its place in Medicine,” focused on the importance of care (care-giving) in the medical profession.

“The high prevalence of communicable, as well as non-communicable chronic diseases dramatically changed the training needs of the medical profession and more attention should therefore be given to care-giving in medical training.

The UFS’ Faculty of the Humanities hosted the colloquium, Constructions of Illness and Identity: Subjectivity and Chronic Illness in the South African Context, at the Bloemfontein Campus.

Presenters from various South African universities discussed their research, including, amongst others, social issues about the care of chronic diseases in South Africa. Some of the titles were: Die nagevolge van die “dopstelsel” in die Wes-Kaap, Trauma en sosiale lyding in Suid-Afrika, MIV en selfidentiteit in die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks.

Prof. Kleinman, a medical anthropologist, said that since the 1990s to the present, HIV/Aids changed from a deadly disease to a chronic disease.

“This phenomenon emphasised that importance should be given to quality care, and not only access to treatment,” he said.
Kleinman emphasised that the moral-emotional experience of illness is as important in medical training today as the clinical skills training.