Medical student interns and UCT Heath Services personal were acknowledged for their dedication by Michael Vonk, the CEO of George Hospital from left in front: Liesl Roos, Precious Dimba, Prof Gonda Perez (Deputy Dean: UCT Faculity of Health Sciences), Moba Lelahane, Bongeka Madlala, Nthabiseng Motumisi and Nadia Hussey. Back row Siphu Khuzwayo (left), Dr Francois Marais, Prof Steve Reid (Head of Primary Health in the Faculty of Health Sciences UCT), Michael Vonk, Nicholas Darch and Sam Cook .
The University of Cape Town (UCT) Medical Faculty is expanding its clinical teaching platform for medical and health science students in the Eden District to include the secondary and district hospitals in the area.
Professor Gregory Hussey, UCT's Interim Dean: Faculty of Health Services, told a gathering of business leaders at the King George Hotel on Friday 6 May that the cooperation and support of the business community is essential for the Eden Initiative to prosper.
"The Faculty has been involved in the Eden District for 10 years through the Isisombululo HIV & AIDS Programme which supports interventions in this area by the Departments of Health and Social Development. More recently the university established the 'UCT in Eden project', a rural campus in George. It is a continuation and expansion of the universities' service to the Eden district. This takes the form of a Health Sciences Teaching platform which will eventually expand to include other disciplines."
This initiative has come about as result of an appeal by the National Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. He urged all universities to increase their output of medical doctors. At provincial level, the Western Cape's Department of Health is also urging the two medical schools in the province to increase the numbers of medical students significantly.
This is not just about increasing numbers, but maintaining the high quality of medical education at UCT coupled with a feasible unit in the Eden District. Hussey said: "The rural campus project has now been running for a year. This evening I am pleased to provide feedback to the community on both Isisombululo and the 'UCT in Eden Project'.
Last year eight UCT medical students spent their final year in the Eden District as 'student interns' as part of the pilot project. This year the group was increased to 15 students who joined the clinical teams in January and are contributing hands-on service delivery while learning. The number of students are expected to grow to around 40 by 2018 and will be extended to Oudtshoorn, Mossel Bay, Knysna and Beaufort West Hospitals.
The Health and Rehabilitation facility (occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech therapy and audiology) plan to introduce a similar model in the Eden District in the near future," said Hussey.
Medical student interns Tsholofelo Malaka from left:, Michaela Kingwill, Zama Volmink, Siphosethu Ntshinga, Jerod van Staden, Kgotso Sekwati, Ntoetse Lerotholi and Louis Jenkins (Associate Professor in Family Medicine and Primary Care at the University of Stellenbosch). Back row: dr Hermann Reuter (Academic coordinator of UCT in Eden) and prof Gregory Hussey (Interim Dean: Faculty of Health Sciences). Photo: Myron Rabinowitz