NMU to offer medical studies soon
The recruitment of students for SA’s second post-apartheid medical school at the Nelson Mandela University (NMU) in Port Elizabeth will start soon, with the first batch expected to start classes in January 2020.
This was revealed by NMU vice-chancellor Dr Sibongile Mutwa in an exclusive interview.
“We are waiting for our final accreditations from the Health Professional Council of South Africa [HPCSA] and the Council for Higher Education.
“We are waiting for final approvals. We are also awaiting final approval from health minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, and that will give us the final go-ahead,” Mutwa said.
She said advertising for student recruitment would start between March and June, and staff recruitment was expected to start in July.
Mutwa said the medical school would fall under the university’s health science faculty and would be housed at their Missionvalle campus near Zwide township, Port Elizabeth.
“This campus is actually ideal, as it is closer to both Dora Nginza and Livingstone hospitals, which will be used for practical training,” she added.
NMU health science dean Professor Lungile Pepeta said they had started the process of recruiting a project manager and health science portfolio educationist.
“These two posts are crucial for us getting all the accreditations,” he said.
With a budget of more than R200m to start the medical school, Pepeta said NMU needed as much as R800m for the school.
“Revamping of various buildings, including lecture halls and laboratories, began late in October 2018 at a budget of R86m. This is to ensure readiness for an accreditation visit by the HPCSA in March 2019. All facilities and supporting research and teaching equipment for hosting the MBChB degree must meet strict criteria. If this accreditation and all other necessary support and approvals are timeously received, the university is set to welcome its first cohort of 100 medical students in 2020,” Pepeta said.
The higher education department confirmed that a second medical school in the Eastern Cape was in the pipeline. The other medical school in the province is at the Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha.
Higher education spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele said: “The department is working on a plan to expand medical education in the country and a new competency is being planned for Nelson Mandela University. The two medical schools will operate within the Eastern Cape and increase the capacity of the higher education sector to produce medical doctors and other health professionals.”
The SA Medical Association (Sama) welcomed the news.
Board member Dr Rhulani Ngwenya said: “This will help alleviate the shortage of doctors in the country.”
Ngwenya cautioned the health department to budget for the graduates, who would need internships when completing their studies.
HPCSA spokesperson Priscilla Sekhonyana said there were more than 3,900 accredited intern and community service doctors posts.
“We currently have 1,880 intern and 1,470 community service doctors in the country,” Sekhonyana said...