South Africa is set to get its 11th medical school.
This after the North-West University (NWU) has received a green light from the Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, for its “innovative medical school project”, marking a significant development for South African healthcare education.
This endorsement marks a pivotal moment in South Africa’s medical training landscape, as NWU prepares to launch a medical program that integrates primary healthcare from the outset, revolutionising how future doctors are trained.
The Minister’s backing is the result of persistent efforts by the NWU Medical School Task Team, led by Bert Sorgdrager, chairperson of the NWU Council, and supported by key figures including NWU vice-chancellor Prof. Bismark Tyobeka and chancellor Dr. Anna Mokgokong.
Their collaboration with the North-West provincial government, under the leadership of the Premier, has been instrumental in reaching this milestone, the university said.
With this high-level support, NWU is set to engage in detailed discussions with the Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, and the Department of Higher Education (DHET).
These talks will focus on finalising the specifics of the NWU Medical School, including curriculum development and accreditation, in consultation with the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).
The NWU’s proposal to regulatory bodies includes several innovative aspects:
A community-based and distributed clinical training platform fostering a comprehensive learning environment.
A six-year program structure, with three years each of integrated preclinical and clinical training, followed by internship and community service.
Utilising the Klerksdorp/Tshepong hospital complex and affiliated institutions in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District as the initial clinical training sites.
Starting with an intake of 50 students, with plans to increase enrollment as the program develops.
Bert Sorgdrager expressed his enthusiasm: “The support from the Minister of Health is a testament to the Task Team’s dedication. This milestone empowers us to forge necessary partnerships and gather resources for the NWU Medical School, a step forward in enhancing South Africa’s healthcare education.”
South Africa currently has 10 medical schools. They are:
- University of Cape Town Faculty of Health Sciences
- University of the Free State Faculty of Health Sciences
- University of KwaZulu-Natal Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine
- University of Limpopo Medical school, University of Pretoria School of Medicine
- University of Stellenbosch Faculty of Health Sciences
- University of the Witwatersrand Faculty of Health Sciences
- Walter Sisulu University Faculty of Health Sciences
- Nelson Mandela University Medical school