This blog covers one of the recent activities by SATuRN in the month of November 2012. As a growing network, SATuRN's work and research is widely being recognized not only by governments but by also recognized and reputable institutions in the health and economics sector. In the month of November SATuRN was invited to be among the three of the top research organizations show casing KZN research on HIV and AIDS and organizations that have contributed remarkably to health research in the Southern African region.
The Africa Centre for Health and Population studies' resistance team attended this event and was representing SATuRN. The event was held at the famous KZNSA Gallery in Durban. This event was titled Getting to Zero: New HIV infections, discrimination, and AIDS related Deaths. Among the invited organizations at the event were the Health Economics And HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD), CAPRISA, Africa Centre/SATuRN, and the University of KwaZulu Natal Press.
Each organization showcased its latest research activity or their area of focus. To give a brief outline, CAPRISA showcased its CAP 004 tenofovir gel study which showed that microbicides could provide women with some protection from HIV infection. HEARD showed a documentary titled Manguzi: Raising children in Rural South Africa, the film provides a personal account of the challenges faced by care givers of children in HIV-endemic communities in South Africa. Africa Centre/SATuRN highlighted their DNA sequencing and art and science projects including the use of DNA to solve HIV transmission cases and to determine ARV resistance levels, the system was explained by Dr Katherine Stott, who said that this sophisticated system for analyzing DNA, was used for patient management at a primary rural health clinic.
One of the strong positive messages from the event was to promote collaboration. It became apparent from most of the talks/points that were put forward that neither one person nor a single organization would have the required strength to fight the epidemic and that is why collaboration was a necessity. Adding to this Dr Katherine Stott from the Africa Centre said, 'One of the strengths of SATuRN has been drawn from collaborating with other institutions and individuals, and that has lead to the remarkable research outputs produced over the years'.
The essence of the event and the exhibitions was to showcase what different NGOs in health research are currently doing in the continuous effort of Getting to Zero, especially in this Southern African part of the continent where the HIV endemic is ripe. The event precedes world aids day and such an event also highlights that the fight against HIV is still raging on, and that hope still exists.