Each week, until November 25, a new nominee is chosen and featured as part of Adcock Ingram OTC’s ‘Sponsors of Brave: The Next Generation’ programme.
Ten nominees will be selected and they will be paired with a selected mentor for career development, besides also standing a chance to win one of two R25,000 scholarships.
Originally from Atlantis in the Cape Flats, Veneshley Samuels is the second of the 10 upcoming feature nominees.
“As a South African woman from a previously disadvantaged background, I aim to develop tools that can be useful to combat diseases that are endemic in our country – and that is my main goal,” says Samuels, who is a University of Cape Town PHD candidate.
Samuels says many families, living in close quarters together, contract TB and this has driven her to want to specialise in this branch of research.
Adcock Ingram OTC’s ‘Sponsors of Brave: The Next Generation’ is a platform to assist healthcare students financially in their studies, provide them with mentorship from academic, professional and industry leaders, and subsequently promote their career development in the healthcare sector.
Samuels was paired with mentor Dr Andani Mulelu, a biochemist and research scientist at the University of Cape Town’s Drug Discovery and Development Research Unit.
Mulelu’s field of study is molecular biology, protein engineering and structural biology which he is applying towards developing a rapid test to diagnose TB.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global TB report, between 215,000 and 400,000 people contract TB in South Africa, with the disease claiming an estimated 78, 000 lives a year.
Karen Dreyer, board member at the Melkbos Care Centre, believes Samuels is a hero for the future for working on a solution to a big problem in South Africa and Africa in general.
Veneshley has shown a lot of courage. During lockdown while most of us were at home, Veneshley was in the field collecting clinical samples from TB patientsDr Andani Mulelu
“I really do believe Veneshley is going to be someone who changes the landscape of medicine in South Africa,” Dreyer says.
Click here to vote for Veneshley
Mulelu acknowledges that pursuing a career in healthcare is challenging at best, but during a pandemic it takes unwavering bravery.
“The work she is doing will help a lot of people and she has a great future in this field.”
In the first season of the programme, Adcock Ingram OTC celebrated unsung heroes from the country’s health system, profiling professionals from private practice to civil service, from academia, pharmacy and the nonprofit sector.
Now the second season is in full swing and seeking the next generation of healthcare heroes – people like Veneshley who are newly working in or studying towards a healthcare career.
If you know any aspiring, current or recently graduated healthcare students, or are one yourself, submit a nomination to stand a chance to win a scholarship and mentorship opportunity.