Medical School at NMMU

2016-07-27 06:00

Continued from page 1

The country currently trains 1 200 to 1 300 medical doctors a year and needs to at least double up its numbers.

The Eastern Cape, with a population of 6.56 million is faced with huge health care and socio-economic challenges, with only one medical school located in Mthatha at WSU, which has an annual intake of around 150 students and graduating about 100 doctors and a small number of specialists each year.

According to NMMU Council Chair, Judge Ronnie Pillay, “the decision is long overdue. We have been sending our school-leavers for medical training, at great cost, to other provinces for decades now, while NMMU has modern infrastructure, a strong health sciences faculty, plenty of land, in a city with highly skilled medical professionals, a sophisticated private sector, three major public hospitals, with one (Dora Nginza) originally built to accommodate a future medical training facility.

“This has long been Council’s dream, and I want to applaud all Council members for being so steadfast in pursuing this goal. I am also confident the medical fraternity will support and participate in this exciting development.”

Dr Nzimande has also requested his counterpart, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, the Minister of Health, to seek the desired policy directive from the National Health Council to commence preparation of the clinical training platforms that will be required to support a medical school at NMMU.

In an early indication of its support, the Department of Higher Education in 2014 provided R72.3m over three years to NMMU to set up, among other things, new pre-medical programmes to allow for multi-entry-options towards the MBChB degree.

These students may then qualify for third-year MBChB enrolment in 2020, which is also the target year for intake of NMMU’s first year school-leavers for the same degree.

Starting with an initial total intake of 50, the numbers will grow incrementally to 200 under-graduate students, as well as starting to introduce medical specialist training programmes.

Prof Vic Exner, Executive Dean of Health Sciences, said, “the past four and a half years have been most exciting and challenging, transforming and re-aligning existing faculty structures and programmes, crafting new offerings, and promoting a bio-psycho-social approach to South Africa’s healthcare and lifestyle management challenges.

“Strong, rigorous clinical training is indispensable, but so too is the need for models to transcend the limits of traditional approaches, and the exploration of holistic healthcare strategies that will embed medical training in wider human capabilities required for a healthy and prosperous nationhood to emerge.”

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