Change the world

Dietetics

08/06/2017

A dream of putting extra soldiers in the field of dietetics

Annatjie Smith  MS RDSA

 

A dream of putting extra soldiers in the field of dietetics

Annatjie Smith  MS RDSA


What drives a 13 year old dream of developing a BSc dietetic course for Nelson Mandela University (NMMU) that could not be hindered while working full time at the State Hospitals and part time private practice in Port Elizabeth as well as completing a masters.
After relocating from Pretoria to Port Elizabeth in 1993 she found the patients, staff and the community  in need of urgent scientific based dietary intervention. It was a challenging process to manage various kitchens and do ward rounds in various clinics and hospitals as well as motivate for additional resources to cover all these needs. This proved even more difficult due to a lack of supplies, resources and finances in the province. In 1994 the Eastern Cape was also no longer part of the Western Cape and the province was left with limited qualified dietitians. Not enough professionals were trained nationally to see to all the needs.  
In 2010 the university finally gave a thumbs up to developing a dietetics programme but proved more challenging than anticipated as there was very little assistance from other dieticians. The work between her and Prof Rosa du Randt kicked off with long hours, various meetings with individuals from the Department of Health and HPCSA and learning university jargon to compile documents. They also needed to research the requirements between international new trends in dietetics, HPCSA guidelines, courses available at the university and own ideas for a special program. 
She retired from the Department of Health in May 2013 and started helping part-time at the university from 2015. 
By 2016 her dream was fulfilled and she left a legacy; an array of soldiers in the field and new foot soldiers being trained.  Students deliver a service to the community by training in the hospitals, clinics and food service units in the area


Inscribed plaque left  in the department: 

A dietetic department born out of my dreams; Never stop dreaming;                                    Spread your wings and keep the legacy growing. Annatjie Smith 2013