The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) recently assessed UKZN’s undergraduate medical degree and recommended full accreditation for the next 5 years. The College of Health Sciences had many reasons to celebrate as Council listed numerous commendations showcasing not only its exceptional medical programme but also its excellent structures, its Decentralised Clinical Training programme as well as its readiness to welcome the 96 Fidel Castro Cuban Collaboration medical students who will join UKZN at the end of July.
The CHS was congratulated for its improved communication, excellent student support services, its homestay project in rural KZN which promotes social cohesion as well as its decentralised clinical training programme. It also recognised the School of Clinical Medicine, other Schools involved in the medical curriculum and CHS leadership and staff for their enthusiasm and commitment to improving their medical curriculum on an ongoing basis.
Chair of the accreditation panel, Professor Martin Smith said, ‘I want to commend you on a sterling programme of excellent quality and congratulate you on the components of what has been achieved thus far.’
The accreditation process of degrees is ongoing as curriculum content and in some cases, enrolment targets change periodically. The purpose of accreditation is primarily to promote excellence in educational preparation, whilst providing assurance to the public that the graduates would have a core of knowledge and skills required for competent, safe, ethical, effective, and independent professional practice.
For the College of Health Sciences this year’s accreditation site visits included the assessment of its Decentralised Clinical Training and Primary healthcare sites including Stanger, Ngwelezane, Queen Nandi (Lower Umfolozi) Hospitals, Edendale and Northdale, Cato Manor Clinic and KwaMashu Community Health Clinic. The DCTP was given a resounding ‘thumbs up’.
Another purpose of the accreditation visit was to establish whether the institution is able to increase its enrolments targets as per the call of the Minister of Health. The HPCSA assesses the implications of the HEI’s increasing their intake, in relation to the facilities, the staff-student ratios, laboratory space and student support. During this round, the HPCSA fully accredited the programme for an intake of 250 first year students.
Deputy Vice Chancellor and Head of the CHS, Professor Busisiwe Ncama was delighted at the outcome and mentioned, ‘It is a result of teamwork among all staff including input from students and KZN Department of Health as partners. I wish to thank everybody that is involved in the MBCHB programme for their dedication and hard work.’
Source University of KwaZulu-Natal