Change the world


News of the Nelson Mandela University’s new medical programme has been overwhelmingly positively received, with more than 3 600 applications successfully submitted online since applications opened on 06 January 2021.

In addition, the University has been buoyed by the many far-flung messages of congratulations for its collaborative efforts in establishing the country’s tenth medical school, and the Eastern Cape’s second, on its Missionvale Campus.

With just 50 places available for the initial cohort of the six-year Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree programme starting in March, a stringent selection process is in place to ensure that the right qualifying students are chosen to embrace the innovative community-based programme.

Applications for the medical programme close on Friday, 05 February 2021, with classes starting when the new academic year begins in mid-March.

The new medical programme, which was given the final go-ahead in December, is one of 11 health disciplines within the Faculty of Health Sciences, using an innovative interprofessional education and collaborative practice (IPECP) model for holistic patient care.

“We can’t wait to see our students – not just our future medical practitioners, but our other health students too – all working in our communities in the service to society. Being in the service of society is our University’s mandate,” said acting Faculty Health Sciences Dean Professor Dalena van Rooyen.

“Participation in our medical programme will teach the lesson that a great medical practitioner is dedicated to serving others. We want to nurture the human side of medicine.”

The application process to establish a medical school in Nelson Mandela Bay started eight years ago, but the idea had been mooted as far back as 1946.

Prof van Rooyen said the University had worked with all stakeholders, including the Eastern Cape and national health departments, other medical schools, including Walter Sisulu University, the Metro, the local medical fraternity and the host communities, to formulate a curriculum set to meet real South African health care needs.

“While our mission as a Faculty is on addressing the health disparities experienced by underserved communities by using a preventative and promotive primary health care model, our students will have the adaptive expertise to work anywhere in the world as we will be using the latest technologically advanced teaching equipment.”

All health sciences students, for example, will have access to virtual dissection tables, which mimic the human body, cadavers and human tissue. They will also work with virtual families based on real and relevant patient scenarios and have the opportunity to share their area of expertise, be it, for example, medicine, nursing science, emergency medical care, psychology, dietetics or pharmacy, on how to treat various illnesses holistically as an interprofessional team.

“This collaborative practice will enable a better understanding and respect for each other’s discipline, but ultimately offer better, holistic patient care.”

The same collaborative effort is at play with the national and provincial health departments, the professional bodies, Walter Sisulu and other universities producing health professionals.

“We’re all here to beat the inadequate medical practitioner numbers and resource our health system better. The work of the Advisory Board including the host communities, such as Missionvale and Zwide, has been key in assisting with the placement of students.

“Everyone is really positive about this medical school. The feedback has been so good and so welcome, given the enormous challenges that health professionals and indeed health systems are facing globally right now.”

Prof van Rooyen explained that this included the University’s joint staff initiative with clinicians working in public and private practice to share their knowledge and skills with students, along with the new full-time lecturing staff.

The six-year curriculum compromises of three preclinical and three clinical training-focused years.

The pre-clinical years will be based at Missionvale Campus, which was purposely chosen to expose students to the nature of conditions that the majority of patients live in.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777