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The country’s 10th medical school, which aims to address the severe shortage of doctors in the Eastern Cape, is well on its way to being launched by April.

The Nelson Mandela University’s medical school is set to enroll its first intake at the Missionvale Campus in 2021.

The first intake will admit 50 students, according to director of the medical programme, Professor Fikile Nomvete.

But this figure will increase over time.

Nomvete presented the latest developments to the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality’s public health committee on Monday and said the medical school was almost ready to open.

Nomvete said they received a grant from the department of higher education and training and were able to do some infrastructural changes and purchase furniture and equipment.

“In terms of progress, we have also visited various universities because if some things have been done correctly by a particular medical [school], we want to keep them and the mistakes they have made, we want to revamp.

“We’ve worked particularly closely with the University of Stellenbosch, University of Cape Town, University of Pretoria and University of Johannesburg, and we have a working partnership with Walter Sisulu University,” Nomvete said.

He also shared pictures of the campus and said the group of students would be trained in state-of-the-art facilities.

The school would be the first in SA to use leading global technology for interactive anatomical education, radiology, surgery and research.

For example, there are Anatomage virtual anatomy dissection tables, which feature the full and realistic external and internal anatomy of male and female bodies, and everything that can be done on a human body can be done virtually.

“When we trained we had cadavers, bodies of people who were unclaimed, but that has become problematic and there issues with that in terms of the whole respect of the human body, so we are shifting away from that by using technology,” he said.

Nomvete said they were experiencing challenges with student accommodation but had identified dilapidated buildings at Dora Nginza Hospital and hoped to engage with the department of public works for a long-term lease of that facility.

ANC councillor Kholekile Bhoqwana applauded that the location was within disadvantaged communities, which could potentially resolve the issue of the shortage of doctors and quality service in townships.

“Having the medical school there brings new hope and gives the campus a new face, and anyone who comes into our city will know that Missionvale is an institution of higher learning,” Bhoqwana said.

Another ANC councillor, Mazwangandile Dano, said in the past doctors chose not to work in rural or township facilities and that studying in Missionvale and within a disadvantaged community would change that mindset.

NEW DAWN: A building under construction at the Missonvale Campus to be used by the Nelson Mandela University’s medical school

This article appeared in the The Herald (South Africa) of 4 March 2020 wrtten by 
Zipo-zenkosi Ncokazi

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