NWU’s Itumeleng Dinku wrestles with the call for meaningful research
Societies depend heavily on women for health care, yet women's own health needs are frequently neglected, their contributions to health development undervalued, and their working conditions ignored.
This is the opinion of Itumeleng Dinku, a master’s student in population studies and sustainable development in the Faculty of Humanities of the North-West University (NWU).
As a young researcher and future academic, Itumeleng believes that his role is to provide society with solutions to issues plaguing the country and the world, for instance the high rate of domestic violence cases in South Africa,
With his master’s thesis titled “Association of Intimate Partner Violence on Maternal Health Care Services Utilisation in South Africa”, Itumeleng is wrestling with two of the most challenging issues in our post democratic society: domestic violence and access to adequate health care for women.
Itumeleng says South Africa has a fundamental challenge in providing quality healthcare to women, more so those living in rural areas. He says it is no surprise that this marginalised grouping in society would be further vulnerable to domestic violence at the hands of their partners.
“The increasing recognition of the need for accessible primary health care and of people's right and duty to participate individually and collectively in their own care, makes it vital to critically examine the role and status of women in primary health care provision,” he says.
Part of the argument that Itumeleng’s research focuses on, is that violence against women was, until very recently, invisible in the human rights discourse and absent from concerns with human development.
“Yet such violence infringes on women’s fundamental human right to bodily integrity and freedom from fear. Violence also jeopardises their basic human capabilities, and, as a result, undermines their ability to participate as full citizens in the economic, political and social life of their community.”