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Dr. Ndumiso Tshuma is a public health expert who works at the community level in South Africa to reduce the risk factors associated with non-communicable diseases.
Nutrition plays a crucial role in managing communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, stroke, and chronic lung disease. This clinical nutritionist says strategic thinking and innovative policies will go a long way in limiting the incidence of these mostly lifestyle and genetic diseases, says Dr. Tshuma.
A visiting university lecturer, Dr. Tshuma, has completed his PhD in Nutrition and Integrated Public Health at Texila American University. He says, “the program was an intense journey of multiple assessments and a large amount of study material, at the end of which I got a socially rewarding career.”
Though it was an online programme, there was an excellent opportunity to engage with co-students who came from all walks of life.
“Our interaction helped us imbibe the cultures of countries like Botswana, Nigeria, India, Nicaragua, and the UAE – it was a multi-faceted learning experience,” Dr. Tshuma said.
“We could collaborate in areas of research, operations, and training, and with the help of former students, who were part of multiple non-governmental organizations, we set up networks that helped us in furthering our objectives.”
As a principal investigator of studies in diseases, Dr. Tshuma is responsible for implementing policies based on scientific studies.
A key focus is on how nutrition can modify lifestyle and, in turn, help achieve better child and maternal health and reduce the impact of HIV Aids.
Dr. Tshuma says that generating awareness about these non-communicable diseases and the part nutrition plays in preventing them or controlling their impact is as important as the treatment.
Social media networking sites like Facebook are essential platforms that help in disseminating critical information about managing diseases. “Educating the community is one of the crucial roles a nutritionist plays,” says Dr. Tshuma.