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The first phase of the university’s exciting journey towards the establishment of the country’s 10th Medical School is gaining momentum.

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The refurbishment of buildings for the Medical Programme on the Missionvale Campus is almost finished as is the procurement of state-of-the-art equipment for teaching, learning and research in anticipation of hosting the university’s first cohort of medical students in 2021.

Before the university can open applications for its six-year MBChB degree, the programme’s curriculum, along with the infrastructure and equipment to support the programme, needed to be evaluated by the Health Professions Council of South Africa. The HPCSA visited the campus for an evaluation at the end October 2019. This was a very positive and constructive visit and official feedback on the findings of the panel will be shared with the University as soon as they are available. Regrettably the Covid-19 pandemic has affected and extended the timelines linked to this process. Similarly, final approval is also needed from the Council of Higher Education, enabling the Medical Programme to apply for SAQA registration for the proposed MBChB degree.

Innovative teaching model

The university will be using an innovative, transformative, distributive teaching model that will see students come together to study across health science disciplines and leverage the benefits of technology – all towards their service to society, especially within the metro. The transformative interprofessional education model (IPE) will see doctors work and study alongside nurses, radiographers, psychologists, environmental health practitioners, pharmacists, emergency medical care students and the like, to offer holistic and integrated health care.

The Faculty of Health Sciences led by Executive Dean Professor Lungile Pepeta has already introduced the transformative model with great success with both students and the communities benefitting from the ongoing partnerships.  

The faculty’s health care ethos is preventative rather than curative given the dire shortage of qualified health professionals in South Africa. At present, 65% of all public doctor’s posts are vacant and there is only one doctor to every 4230 people in the Eastern Cape.   

Driving the process

A Medical School Steering Committee is driving the hugely complex implementation plan that also takes the future of Missionvale Campus and the surrounding community into account. The campus is in close proximity to Dora Nginza Hospital and a number of clinics. Another positive milestone is the appointment of a Medical Programme Director Prof. Fikile Nomvete.

The degree

The qualification offered will be a six-year, MBChB degree (a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) that will produce graduates who fulfil the Health Professional Council of South Africa (HPCSA) graduate attributes and who, on qualification, are competent to work as interns in a South African hospital.  

We aim to produce fit-for-purpose graduates who can contribute to the Eastern Cape and South Africa's priority health care needs.