Shortage of Health Care Professionals
It is well known that South Africa doesn’t have enough Health Care Professionals. Perhaps, less well known is that it does not have enough training sites and that the prevailing training model is also focused on treatment and cure.
This is all about to change through an innovative approach that has been embraced by UKZN that will lay the foundation for a more sustainable and wider reaching model which needs to also focus on prevention and primary healthcare to alleviate the complex burden of disease stemming from among other things widespread HIV and Tuberculosis.
The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s College of Health Sciences in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health is set to dramatically address this national challenge by: doubling UKZN’s capacity to train healthcare professionals changing the curriculum to focus on primary healthcare offering this service where it is needed the most; in the rural communities in previously disadvantaged regions of KwaZulu-Natal.In order to provide relevant training and increase infrastructure to accommodate more students, UKZN needs to establish at least three pioneering community based clinical training centres.
A New Healthcare Training Model
UKZN has taken the lead after discussion with other Universities, in re-engineering a new healthcare curriculum and training model endorsed by the Department of Health and the Department of Higher Education and Training as a viable solution for addressing the healthcare professions training needs. The National Minister of Health views this pioneering project as a blueprint which could be implemented throughout South Africa.
Senior students will be uniquely trained using a Primary Health Care approach with an extended clinical immersion experience. They will be placed for one or more semesters to serve in Regional Hospitals, District Hospitals, Primary Health Clinics and Community Health Centre’s.
Students will receive first hand exposure to the real clinical environment under the guidance and expertise of experienced on site teams and qualified professionals while studying at the training centers.
Clinical training between the different Health Care Professionals will be integrated in order that students will engage with different disciplines to be better equipped to deal with the whole patient in addressing South African’s health needs.
This experience will develop and sustain values that are essential for success in health care professionals: understanding cultural diversity, self-determination and empowerment, a critical consciousness, mutual learning and partnership and a commitment to social justice.
While offering concrete long term benefits to healthcare provision the professionals in training will offer immediate service delivery relief and development in the rural communities in which they are based.
Establishing three clinical training centers will increase UKZN’s capacity to train more healthcare professionals.
Ngwelezane, Madadeni and Port Shepstone have been carefully selected as they meet the specific requirements of the training model in terms of their facilities, the desired training outcomes and the geographical reach of the programme.
The Department of Health is providing land (Ngwelezane and Madadeni) and operational support for the new training facilities in each region.
The UKZN Foundation is seeking partners who will enable the success of this groundbreaking training model by funding the construction of the three pioneering training facilities which will serve the communities of Ngwelezane, Madadeni and Port Shepstone.
The budget required to establish each training facility is R9 million per site.
The training facilities will be fully equipped with teaching and learning venues for tutorials and lectures; a skills laboratory, library and facilities for video-conferencing and e-learning to enable students and academics to continue to engage and interact with the academic’s and facilities at the College of Health Sciences.
Benefits for Donors
UKZN can offer various profile-raising opportunities to donors who substantially invest in this project which includes: co-branding, naming of a centre/s or parts thereof (based on the prevailing naming policy), media coverage and publicity in reports, website and publications of UKZN. This project is classified as Socio-Economic Development for the purposes of BBBEE scorecard evaluation and is Section 18a tax deductible.