Joep Award thrills UNZA lecturer

UNIVERSITY of Zambia assistant dean in the School of Education Dr Sylvia Kabaghe says winning the prestigious Joep Award is a motivation for her to work harder. The Joep Lange Award is one exceptional award won by a scientist that presents the highest scoring scientific abstract at the conference by an African scientist.

Dr Kabaghe presented work titled, “The role of executive functioning in medical adherence: evidence from the HIV associated neurocognitive disorders study in Zambia”.

She emerged the winner from a pull of 613 abstracts submitted by scientists involved in researching HIV treatment, pathogenesis, and prevention research in Africa. Dr Kabaghe is a Lecturer and Researcher in the School of Education where she teaches educational psychology.

She said winning the award at the just ended 13th International Conference on HIV treatment, pathogenesis, and prevention research in resource-limited settings hosted in Accra, Ghana meant a lot to her.

“It is first of all a motivation to work hard so that people start seeing the results of what we are doing. At the same time, it is a challenge because it means people have high expectations. For example, this award means that I will automatically attend the next INTEREST Conference in 2020 which means I should put up another good abstract and at that time the award winning abstract should be in an article and published in a renowned journal so that is the challenge. But I believe it will be done because I have a very supportive team I should mention that this is not an individual effort; it’s as a result of teamwork and team effort,” she said.

She said she works with an amazing and hard working team on the HIV Associated Neurocognitive Disorders in Zambia being led by Prof David Bearden and Prof Heather Adams.

“I also want to mention the support and encouragement that I receive from the Director of Paediatric Centre of Excellence Dr Chipepo Kankasa. Dr K, I salute you. She believed in me even before I believed in myself and has been supportive throughout. If we have such mentors at every institution then I believe we are going somewhere as a country. I also wish to thank the clinical director Dr Mwiya Mwiya and all the other PCOE employees for the support,” she said.

Dr Kabaghe said all this should not have been had it not been for the University of Zambia where it all started. She said UNZA was the best place to be as it had brilliant minds and powerful human resource which she believed if well utilised would take Zambia forward.

“I take this opportunity to thank the people that mentored me on my PhD journey which ignited my thoughts on Executive Functions. Prof Adriana G Bus from Leiden University, Dr Beatrice Matafwali and Prof Kasonde l- Ngandu from UNZA. I am a proud product of UNZA and I know that UNZA is a Gold mine. All it needs are the miners to get the Gold out,” she said.

“Lastly but not the least. I have a very supportive family, which cheers me on. This includes my parents, siblings and my lovely husband who has been extremely supportive.”

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