Following the Research Methods Workshop held at Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, Dr Mbulelo Mntonintshi expressed an interest in extending his research ideas and collaboration with the University of Cape Town.
As developing research capacity in the field of Infectious Diseases was the main aim of the workshop, Dr Mntonintshi visited the University of Cape Town (UCT) on an invitation from Professors Graeme Meintjes and Robert J Wilkinson from the Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa (CIDRI-Africa) and the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM) from the 8th to the 19th November 2017.
Dr Mntonintshi explained his reason for the visit: “I am a Family Physician who qualified in May 2017 and a young researcher. I like to do clinical research that improves patient care in our setting. The UCT and NIH team hosted a research workshop at Walter Sisulu University (WSU) 3 months ago. We learnt a lot about research and how to apply for research funding.
During the workshop I met researchers who can help WSU to uplift the research standard and output. I asked them for guidance in research and they responded overwhelmingly and I was invited to UCT.”
During this time, he also attended the 7th Federation of Infectious Diseases Societies of Southern Africa Conference (FIDSSA) held in Cape Town from 9th to 11th November. He felt he learnt a lot during the conference.
He describes his experience of his time observing in the IDM laboratories: “At UCT I saw a research laboratory with sophisticated equipment. In UCT they keep research specimens in a minus 80 degrees freezer and store them for a long time. They have a machine that can count individual cells like lymphocytes and identify receptors. They said if we can organize transportation of specimens to UCT and maintain the cold chain they can do some tests for us in UCT. That can immediately uplift our research standard.”
He also had one hour sessions with about 10 researchers, each with individual expertise and experience and commented on how friendly and professional they were.
He also attended the IDM lunch hour seminars.
Following his visit to the Khayelitsha Clinic site, he commented: “I visited 2 of their research sites in Khayelitsha, one for HIV vaccine and another about HIV and TB. I was introduced to the whole team and they had time to show me what they do. Their research sites are of high standard. They adhere to ethical requirements, really reduce bias and are careful and dedicated about the work they do.”
“Professor Meintjes helped to develop my research project and showed me how to apply for funding. We have plans to do collaborative research between UCT and WSU. I am happy to have them on my side.”
Thanks from Dr Mntonintshi Mbulelo
Professor Graeme Meintjes with Dr Mbulelo Mntonintshi outside the CIDRI-Africa Office in the IDM