Obituary: Professor S.S. (Cyril) Naidoo

Obituary: Professor S.S. (Cyril) Naidoo

1952 – 2021

It is with great sadness and with a heavy heart that I write this Obituary on Prof Cyril Naidoo- 1952-2021.

As Principal Specialist-Family Medicine, I have interacted with Prof Naidoo on a professional and academic basis as my HOD since January 2008 to date.

Prof Naidoo led by exemplary standards of professionalism, knowledge and patient-centred teaching.

He was an enabling HOD who had facilitated the progress of all members of the Dept. towards ongoing academic development with regards to their PhD programmes and the opportunity to be external examiners at sister departments at other universities.

Prof Naidoo had been visionary and instrumental in developing Family Medicine as a specialist discipline in 2007. In this regard, he was the instrumental team member in accrediting the 4yr MMED (Fam Med) registrar programme and now the Diploma in Family Medicine (UKZN) for practitioners who could not commit full-time to the registrar programme. It has been said by colleagues at other Faculties and by the HPCSA accreditation committee that the UKZN Family Medicine registrar training programme was amongst the best in the country, thanks to a large extent to Prof Cyril Naidoo’s ‘hands-on-approach’.

Prof Naidoo was the pioneer and annual convenor of the Emergency Medicine Update programmes which was held over 3 weekends for doctors, nurses and paramedics. It was a CPD accredited programme by the College of Emergency Medicine with a certificate of competency on successful completion of a skills examination. This programme was fully supported by the Department of Health. Of particular significance, is that, through the strategic networking of Prof Naidoo, The Department of Family Medicine, UKZN, was the accredited Emergency Training Department in terms of the “2010 World Cup” disaster preparedness programmes for the KZNDOH.

In collaboration with the Enhanced Care Initiative, Prof Naidoo had involved the Department of Family Medicine in its HIV/AIDS Diploma programme and the Palliative Care Programme training programmes for doctors and nurses.

In this regard, Prof Naidoo had been innovative in commissioning a “Skills Laboratory” for the emergency procedural skills training of doctors, nurses and paramedics. His resourcefulness and enthusiasm had ensured the equipping of the laboratory of equipment to the value in excess of 2 million rands with the DVC promising the funding of an ICU training facility to further optimise the quality of skills in the High-Care and ICU environments. The skills lab remains the envy of many visiting academics from outside universities.

Furthermore, Prof Cyril Naidoo had secured funding through the MEPI Grant for a skills laboratory including communication skill training booths with the requisite audio-visual equipment for 7 designated training Hospitals in KZN (5 rural and 2 urban). This is in line with his vision for decentralising skills teaching and training in the peri-urban and rural sites. These equipped sites would be the centres of excellence for teaching and training in Family Medicine, all supported by Faculty, which would have the knock-on effect of optimising skills and standards of care and quality service delivery to these rural patient health service providers and the patients they serve.

Through the MEPI collaboration, Prof Naidoo has accredited Wentworth Hospital as an ACTG research site. His endeavours have also attracted the interest of KRITH with the Head- Prof Bishai having visited Wentworth Hospital for the commissioning of a satellite research centre at Wentworth Hospital.

Prof Naidoo is an advocate for stringent professional conduct, as is evidenced by the disciplined Unit he conducted at Wentworth Hospital. In this regard, he was novel in developing defined Clinical Tracts i.e. General Medical tract including a High-Care Unit, Mother and child tract, Infectious Disease tract and the Accident and Emergency and Out-patient tracts.

Prof Cyril Naidoo was a hands-on manager/clinician and had developed and work-shopped a Triage tool for doctors and nurses to decongest the busy Accident and Emergency Department at Wentworth District Hospital.

He was also innovative in establishing a senior registrar/consultant supported Wellness Clinic in terms of triaging patients with multiple co-morbidities and poly-pharmacy requiring a higher level of intervention.

Prof Naidoo had created an enabling training programme at Wentworth Hospital by collaborating with the Departments of Cardiology, Neurology, Paediatrics and Haematology for combined ward rounds weekly in terms of collaborative teaching, training and optimising training of staff at Wentworth Hospital.

Prof Cyril Naidoo is past President of KZN Branch of SAMA and remained an active member. He also served as President of the College of Family Physicians and availed himself readily for CPD programmes to generalists and specialists in the Fields of Professionalism and Ethics, Palliative Care and HIV/AIDS workshops.

Prof Naidoo was defined by his wide knowledge base, his ability to teach complex material in an easy to understand format, and his impeccable bedside mannerism, always with a smile and empathic voice that he was well renowned for.

His proven leadership qualities in Society, being the past Head of Chatsworth Child Welfare, past President of SAMA-KZN Branch, past District Surgeon of Chatsworth and then Interim Head of The School of Nursing and Public Health is testimony to his lifelong dedication to serving his profession and community with unselfish dedication and unquestionable commitment to the very end.

It is with a heavy heart that we, as the Department Of Family Medicine, School of Nursing and Public Health, UKZN bid farewell to this “giant amongst giants”.

(Dr Kantharuben (Ruben) Naidoo- mentee of Prof Cyril Naidoo)


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