UKZN appoints new director of student health services

Dr Chauntelle Bagwandeen has been appointed director of student health services at UKZN.

Public health medicine specialist, Dr Chauntelle Bagwandeen has been appointed director of Student Health Services at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). Dr Bagwandeen is a distinguished alumnus of the university and is highly respected for her work in the medical field.

Dr Bagwandeen holds a number of qualifications, including a medical degree, a Diploma in Health Service Management, a Diploma in Occupational Health, a Diploma in HIV and Aids Management from the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa, a Fellowship of the College of Public Health Medicine of South Africa, and a PhD in Public Health Medicine.

She boasts an impressive 25-year career dedicated to the full spectrum of health and wellness and anchored in Public Health Medicine. Her extensive experience spans strategic, innovative, and inclusive projects, ranging from policy development to successful implementation and budgeting. Her leadership prowess has been honed in diverse, multi-disciplinary environments, and she possesses a profound understanding of public health structures and systems.

Speaking to YOUR Ethekwini, Dr Bagwandeen said she was excited about her new role which is based at the Howard College Campus.

“It is going to be wonderful to put tried and tested methods to work. We have to look at improving Student Health Services in a comprehensive fashion. It has to be holistic, balanced and bespoke for the students needs,” said Dr Bagwandeen.

“I will have to see how things are run now and find the gaps so we can put into place what is really relevant. One of my goals is to improve primary health care, as well as focus on gender based violence, mental health, nutrition among other issues that affect students. I am also looking forward to working with the team and I appreciate the support from the management structures. I studied at the university many years ago and I have also worked as a lecturer for first year medical students for 15 years – it now feels like I have come full circle. I am looking forward to this role.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor for the College of Health Sciences at UKZN, Professor Busisiwe Ncama says that in this role, Dr Bagwandeen’s goals will be to enhance service delivery, maximise limited resources, and prioritise the health and wellness of the university community.

“With her wealth of knowledge, leadership experience, and commitment to excellence, we are confident that Dr Bagwandeen will make an indelible mark on our Student Health Services and contribute significantly to the well-being of our university community. We look forward to a future of thriving health and wellness under her guidance,” said Prof Ncama.

In her recent role as Principal Specialist/Lecturer in the Discipline of Public Health Medicine within the School of Nursing and Public Health at UKZN, Dr Bagwandeen demonstrated her commitment to education and mentorship. She served as the overall convenor of the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health and played a crucial role in shaping the curriculum for the first-year medical degree ‘Becoming a Professional’ module. Her involvement as a module convenor for the National Health Systems, Primary Health Care, and Human Resource Management modules showcased her dedication to the development of well-rounded health professionals.

Dr Bagwandeen’s extensive involvement in postgraduate and undergraduate teaching has seen her graduate six master’s students while supervising seven master’s students and two PhD students – emphasising her commitment to fostering the next generation of health care professionals.

Her vast experience in public health, including roles as Principal Specialist in Public Health Medicine and as a Manager in the Human Resource Support Directorate at the KZN Department of Health, is a testament to her ability to navigate complex health care landscapes. Dr Bagwandeen’s expertise extends to situational analyses, research project development, and implementation of health systems research projects, particularly focused on the eThekwini district.

As the overseer of the Wellness Component at the KZN Department of Health, Dr Bagwandeen managed the HIV/Aids in the Workplace, Employee Assistance Programme, Occupational Health and Safety, and Gender Focal Point sub-directorates. Her responsibilities included policy development, financial management, personnel management, and client satisfaction, showcasing her comprehensive approach to health care management. In her commitment to the fight against HIV and Aids, Dr Bagwandeen developed a workplace-specific policy for the Department of Health, guiding the internal response to the epidemic as an employer.