Kim Lamont (South Africa; Postdoctoral Fellow Nov 2012 - Oct 2015)

I then departed from Cape Town returning to the city of Johannesburg at the beginning of the year 2013. Recently having started at the Wits University, it has taught me in this short time frame that in order to have an incline in one’s progress there can be no room for complacency. My motivation for coming back to Johannesburg was to be fully involved in my research at a renowned institution in addition being with my family and fiancée, as this is my support system that has afforded me the solid foundation and sustenance to pursue my career. I believe that it is a combination of all the above mentioned factors that support a balanced lifestyle, in order to maintain equilibrium, allowing an easy continuation with my postdoctoral fellowship with Prof Karen Sliwa and Prof Kerstin Klipstein-Grobusch.

In April 2012, I joined HeduAfrica and was selected to feature in a video for healthy living. This sparked my increased interest in health information access, information dissemination and the flexible, fluid, exciting new methods of delivering a health message through the use of information technology. I am a part of the HeduAfrica think-tank and have spent a lot of my free time showing patients how to access health information from iPads and touch-screen technology at the Groote Schuur maternity hospital, and the Senanone and Elias Motsaledi clinics in Soweto, one of the biggest townships in Johannesburg. I also manage the content on the HeduAfrica site.

In November 2012, I was awarded the prestigious NIH (USA) Millennium Leadership Training Programme on Non-communicable Diseases scholarship.

I am now the project coordinator of the “Pregnancy-Related Obesity Prevention Through Education & Communication Technology in AFRICA: The PROTECT-AFRICA Study”, which is conducted under the leadership of Professor Karin Sliwa, Professor Simon Stewart and Professor Kerstin Klipstein. The study aims to address low health educational levels in young African women. A pilot study has been done showing the use of an innovative IT-based programme to provide readily accessible and understandable health education to this vulnerable population.

My particular interest in the intervention arm of the study is the use of SMS and videos as a form of providing health information. I have also been involved with educating adolescents about healthy eating habits in Soweto. This work was presented at the Pan-African Society of Cardiology conference in Senegal, Dakar, in May and was entitled: “Start young, prevention is better than cure: The use of videos to prevent chronic diseases of lifestyle in Soweto.

Special achievemnets and awards i have obtained while part of the programme include:

-2014  (August) capacity Building and Skills transfer from German partners travel money provided BMBF grant
-2015 SA heart Braun travel scholarship