Avuyile Mbangatha is a medical student, and a health and food security activist. He grew up in a township where children went to bed at night not knowing when their next meal would be.
He was shattered at how the conditions took the lives of many and saw the youth resort to substance abuse and crime as coping mechanisms.
As an aspiring Public Health Specialist he has been involved in various community organisations in fields of the environment and community health. His passion for public health began in 2014 when subsistence farmers is his community were heavily affected by weather changes that affected crop quality, growth and food security.
He developed a fertilizer (vermicompost solution) that aimed to enhance nutrition, crop growth, quality and food security. It was a natural pesticide and allowed vegetable crops could be grown organically- minimising the environmental impacts posed by artificial fertilizers and allowed crops/plants to thrive in unfavourable weather conditions.
This initiative won him prizes and research grants from various university institutions and the Soil Science Society of South Africa. In 2015 he was named one of South Africa’s 11 Smartest Young Minds. and was placed in the Top 30 of the World’s Youngest Innovators.
In 2018 he served as a global ambassador, representing South Africa in Singapore, where he launched a campaign on eco-friendly ways to increase food security and promote environmental health.
Avuyile wants to use his knowledge, leadership potential and research background to tackle health, environmental and socio-economic issues that affect the well-being of individuals and communities.
He believes addressing these issues shapes him as a future doctor and constantly reminds me that it is not just about treating the illness/disease in a patient, but also addressing the external factors affecting them.
He grew up in an impoverished community and was motivated to pursue a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree, specialising in Public Health. He wants to use his research experience, medical knowledge and leadership potential to deal with issues that affect community and environmental health.
It has not been an easy journey. Avuyile has experienced personal issues. and immense pressure from his studies but he doesn’t let those circumstances define him.
He lives by the philosophy that the secret to change is to focus your energy not on fighting the old but building the new. The only time we should ever look back is to see how far we have come.
He hopes to complete his term as a community service doctor and go on to do postgraduate studies in HIV/Aids management to learn how to tackle the impact the epidemic has on the health of communities. He also wants to do a Masters degree in Public Health to able to gain a better perspective of community health; to find ways of addressing communicable and non-communicable diseases outbreaks and to improving the public health system.
Ayuvile lives by the principle of leading from the back and putting people in front. He strives to cultivate knowledge not for himself, but for the people around him, to help them work towards achieving their dreams.