Country – South Africa
ADSA’s vision is to represent and develop the dietetic profession to contribute towards achieving optimal nutrition for all South Africans. The primary aims of the association are to serve the interests of dietitians in South Africa and promote the nutritional wellbeing of the community.
Currently the association has approximately 1200 members spread across the 9 provinces and practicing in a multitude of areas in dietetics.
Above: The 2011 – 2013 ADSA Executive Committee: From left: Nireshnee Reddy, Maria van der Merwe, Karen Horsburgh, Karen de Klerk, Berna Harmse, Carol Browne, Jenny Meyer, Alpha Rasekhala, in front – Philna Eksteen.
National Nutrition Week 2011 - Feeding Smart from the Start.
National Nutrition Week has grown from strength to strength in recent years. It is a wonderful opportunity for many stakeholders in the nutrition arena in South Africa to come together and focus communication efforts on one theme. The initiative is led by the National Department of Health, and focuses on a new theme each year. The theme drives the kind of initiatives that can be implemented during the week; in recent years a common element has been the work done to generate media coverage on the key messages of the awareness week. ADSA Executive’s Public Relations Portfolio holder Carol Browne, facilitated ADSA’s contribution to the campaign. Consequently, many members from ADSA assisted by making themselves available to be interviewed. Some ADSA members organised events at a local level thus enhancing the overall communication effectiveness.
ADSA sponsored the website for the partners for the week; www.nutritionweek.co.za. This site will also host archives of material from past weeks, especially those resources that can be used on other occasions.
Community Service Dietitians Booklet
In 1997, the South African government legislated that only after completion of a compulsory community service year are graduates legally entitled to register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). The year of compulsory community service falls within the period of supervised practice. It allows the
inexperienced dietitian to develop skills and critical thinking as well as professional behaviour and a work ethos, thereby contributing to the competence of the professional. In South Africa, it also aims to achieve equitable distribution of health professionals across the country, particularly in rural and underserved communities. In an effort to assist community service dietitians in particular ADSA’s Public Sector Portfolio, headed by Maria van der Merwe developed a booklet. The booklet provides a wide variety of information that a newly employed dietitian would find highly useful as well as a CD containing the relevant documents they will require pertaining to work related matters, e.g. forms for HPCSA registration and for registration as a tax payer. It also provides reference material for use in the public sector including national policies and guidelines. The first publication of this booklet has been distributed to approximately 200 new dietitians and the feedback from universities and public sector officials has been very positive.
ADSA Bursary Scheme
The ADSA Bursary Scheme was launched in 2008 in order to support academically strong dietetic students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. The scheme aims to identify students that have already begun a dietetics degree and have demonstrated academic excellence and a passion for nutrition and community upliftment in their letters of motivation. The recipient of the bursary is able to carry on with their degree without the stress of the financial burden that education often carries. The student is supported for the remaining years of their studies.
Poverty and inability of students to continue studying when faced with escalating fees and the demands of higher education makes the South African Graduation rate one of the lowest in the world. It is against such a background that the ADSA Bursary Scheme originated. In 2008, Sindisiwa Qungani from the University of the Western Cape was awarded the bursary. Sindisiwa graduated last year, and is completing her community service at the Kwamhlanga Hospital in Mpumalanga. Sindisiwa’s graduation was a culmination of hard work and sacrifice, and a realisation of the objective of the bursary scheme. In thanking ADSA for the bursary she reiterated that without the bursary from ADSA, her dream of becoming a dietitian might not have been realised.
Sindiswa at her graduation
This year, after assessing 18 deserving applications, the decision was taken to award the bursary to Sibulele Pango, also from the University of the Western Cape. Sibulele hails from the Eastern Cape and has excelled academically despite enduring difficult personal circumstances. We hope that this bursary scheme will contribute to creating dietitians that will make positive changes in nutrition and the field of dietetics.
ADSA Executive Communications PortfolioRecent Activities of Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA)