By: Ashlee Wilson | Wed 20 Jul 2016, 13:00
South African to present Al Jazeera show episodes.
Al Jazeera’s cutting-edge show goes into the world of health and science. Presented by medical professionals, The Cure takes us on a journey to see those working hardest to provide the best they can with what they’ve got.
From witnessing births in electricity outages to understanding how hospitals cope after Ebola claimed the lives of 184 doctors, South African sexual and reproductive health doctor and activist Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng will be presenting two episodes of The Cure.
Best known locally as Kaya FM’s resident doctor, Dr T, Dr Tlaleng will take us on the journey of HIV treatment in Zimbabwe (on The Cure, Thursday 21 July at 18:30 CAT) as well as health in Liberia (screening the following Thursday 28 July at 18:30 CAT on The Cure).
With such fascinating topics, we asked Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng about her trip and her experiences working with The Cure on Al Jazeera (406).
Read our interview below:
What made you decide to join the presenting team on The Cure?
I was a fan of the show so when the opportunity presented itself, I didn't even think twice. I was asked to be part of the team by the producers of the show and they liked my portfolio so we got on with things quite quickly.
It is a dream come true for me to be part of an award-winning international series like The Cure.
As a sexual and reproductive health doctor and activist, what stood out most for you in the segments you worked on?
Well I think the universe works in marvellous ways; the storyline could not have been better picked for me. I worked in a paediatric emergency department for many years and have a private practise in reproductive health care.
The stories are positive and show that even in low-resource settings people can still receive lifesaving procedures and with some simple and innovative solutions entire communities can be at the forefront of delivering health care.
I hope that the stories will be a source of inspiration for the many hardworking health workers who work in very tough conditions.
Tell us more about the situations in Liberia and Zimbabwe that you came across?
Liberia - just a few weeks after the Ebola crisis was declared over, we arrived in Liberia to dedicated nurses and doctors who were really good at what they did.
They spoke of the Ebola crisis as if it had happened a few years ago.
One would expect a sense of despair; however, I experienced passion and dedication.
The staff were frustrated by the lack of supplies, medication and equipment. Many complained that the black market for pharmaceuticals was thriving as a result of chronic shortage of medicines.
In CB Dunbar hospital, we saw the midwives who are being trained and "up skilled" to perform caesarean sections. The chronic shortage of doctors including specialists means that Liberia has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.
Zimbabwe - leading up to the International AIDS Conference in Durban, I had been reading up on the many ways countries had taken up the target to have an HIV free generation and the current Vision 90/90/90 is being widely taken up by governments as part of their HIV/AIDS management strategy.
It was interesting to see how in the rural settings of Zimbabwe, in Gutu, the blood testing and sample collection has been implemented.
The use of bikers to transport samples to the only lab that processes viral load testing was fascinating. The involvement of the community ART teams makes for a sustainable solution to ensuring treatment adherence.
Do you feel the training is enough in these places? What do you feel needs to be done to improve the maternal mortality rates in Liberia?
The most important thing is to ensure that the current training of midwives continues. The midwives need to be supported by equally trained Paediatric ICU nurses. And all this means that money has to be allocated to equipment and medical supplies.
Doctors need to be retained in order to support and continue medical training and development of a sustainable health care system.
How did you feel after returning from such an eye-opening experience?
I feel very much blessed to have been born in South Africa.
It is just indescribable the situations that some women and newborn children have to contend with.
I do wish to go back to Liberia one day to offer support in the form of training and continued medical education in the area of paediatric neonatal care.
Why is The Cure the perfect platform to showcase these issues?
The Cure has a reputation of telling stories that uplift the spirit. The show highlights to us how the human spirit is defiant and regardless of the situation, there are always unsung heroes who work against the odds for others to have a chance in life.
It is presented by medics and I enjoy watching the other presenters too.
I'm looking forward to see where the adventure takes us next.
I hope to be part of more episodes/seasons and that the viewers will enjoy the upcoming episodes.
Tune into The Cure, Thursdays at 18:30 CAT on Al Jazeera (406) on 21 July and 28 July for Dr Tlaleng’s episodes.