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Change the world

Faculty of Health Sciences

Professor Lungile Pepta

Nelson Mandela University is a comprehensive university situated in multiple campuses in Port Elizabeth and George.

The university has a fairly large Faculty of Health Sciences with about 4000 students in ten departments. All these departments, through our Interprofessional Education (IPE) project with the theme: transforming health sciences education to support equity in health’; work together in an integrated learning, research and health service delivery platform in serving communities that are in need.

This is the same approach that has been recommended by both the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and Department of Health (NDOH). Under our IPE projects, we have university-sponsored mobile clinic called ‘Zanempilo’ (‘bringing health’), and the Phelophepha Train Support initiative by staff and students of the faculty. There is also faculty-initiated and driven Interprofessional Health Research Network (IPHRN). This research network focuses on interdepartmental research and also mentoring of budding researchers by established faculty researchers in an integrated fashion.

The Missionvale Campus runs ‘Zanokhanyo’ (‘bring light’) Clinic that focuses on developmental assessment and management of behavioral problems in children, occupational health and rehabilitation of needy communities of Zwide, Missionvale, Algoa Park and other communities of the Port Elizabeth Metropole.

Another flagship project of the faculty is the Disease, Activity and Schoolchildren’s Health (DASH) project, which addresses peri-urban health issues with particular focus on health and well-being of school children and their teachers in previously disadvantaged and resource-deplete schools. This project is done in collaboration with Basel University in Switzerland and is currently funded by Novartis. Out of this project, students from various departments of the faculty and those from Basel University have obtained and continue to have sponsored studies in honours, masters and doctorates through both universities.

The faculty, together with Faculties of Education and Science; engages in initiatives that are geared towards improving high school performance of learners in Mathematics and Science to improve access to graduate programs in the university. Other interfaculty (transdisciplinary) initiatives include concentration on service learning, research and community engagement projects. These include the tablet and mobile phone health education apps through the Centre for Community Technologies in the Department of Information Technology. They also include the Community Aquaponics Garden in Missionvale Campus that produces green vegetables and fish that are supplied to resource-deplete schools in the townships of Port Elizabeth.

We hope to expand all these projects in line with the vision and mission of the United Nations’ Global Sustainable Development Goals, National Development Plan ‘vision 2030’ of the Republic of South Africa, Strategic Goals and 5-year Plans of NDOH and DHET. Plans are also underway towards establishment of a Medical Practitioner training program which is envisaged to commence in 2020.

In our agenda of ‘recurriculation’ and ‘Africanization’ of our programs, and in training health practitioners that are ‘fit-for-purpose’, we are revisiting the training platform of all our students. We must ensure that health practitioners (including medical practitioners) are trained in the setting where they are mostly needed, i.e., in the primary healthcare setting.

We need to embrace and be part of all these initiatives together as a family; as Madiba once cautioned: The important thing is that no single person can do everything.’, Nelson Mandela, June 2001.

The Faculty of Health Sciences, Nelson Mandela University welcomes all new and old students and staff members and we look forward to a very productive 2017. 

 

Your Dean

Professor Lungile Pepeta