South Africa

Programmatic: Stellenbosch University Rural Medical Education Partnership Initiative

Project Title: Stellenbosch Univ Rural Medical Education Partnership Initiative

Principal Investigator: Nachega, Jean, jnachega@jhsph.edu

Awardee Organization: Stellenbosch University

Partner Organization(s): University of Cape Town, Makerere University, University of Fort Hare, Johns Hopkins University

Abstract Text: Stellenbosch University Rural Medical Partnership Initiative (SURMEPI)’s focus is on the development, implementation and evaluation of innovative medical education models for rural and underserved communities in South Africa. SURMEPI has a special remit to generate workable and effective medical education models within an African context and a resource-constrained medical education environment. The project mainly uses the Faculty of Health Sciences’s UKWANDA rural training platform including the newly established Rural Clinical School (RCS) to implement and test these innovations, although peripheral areas in some other parts of South Africa are also included. It is therefore important to understand the whole context, background and remit of SURMEPI as innovative medical education focused on rural and underserved communities. All activities in SURMEPI strive to work towards this vision. The SURMEPI project recast into two major focus areas in which our medical education innovations are conceptualized and organized. These areas are Medical Curriculum renewal for rural practice and Health Systems strengthening and development - specifically in the context of rural and underserved communities. Each area is lead by a senior academic in the SURMEPI project. Within each of the two focus areas there are a number of sub-projects which contribute to the overall objectives and outcomes of SURMEPI as a whole. Whilst both focus areas contribute to the three overarching MEPI outcomes of increasing capacity, including quality; retention of graduates (including distribution within the country); and regionally relevant research, one may have more planned outputs in one of the three MEPI themes, than the other. Within each of the focus areas there will be specific activities aimed at developing the priorities of the SURMEPI vision including: 1) The implementation of innovative medical education models; 2) The evaluation of interventions in terms of their usefulness for an African context and in under-resourced environments; 3) An emphasis on e-learning and interactive communicative technology (ICT) solutions; 4) Faculty development to improve capacity (numbers and quality), retention and diversity; 5) Increased research capacity through monitoring and evaluation (using robust designs which could include randomized trials), rigorous evaluative research, and support for mentored research activities at Masters and PhD level as well as for faculty conducting the research (where needed); 6) The establishment of strong regional South-to-South collaboration by sharing knowledge of the best educational models and skills with regional partners (University of Cape Town-Lung Institute Knowledge Translation Unit, Makerere University), as well as with the other African

PUBLICH HEALTH RELEVANCE: University of Stellenbosch Faculty of Health Sciences is reorienting towards primary care of high priority health problems among marginalized South Africans. New accredited courses at our rural clinical school will be fully aligned with the national ART programme and PEPFAR projects. This is expected to improve physician distribution and retention, their competence for, and participation in PEFAR and national AIDS programs. Learning materials will be shared Africa-wide under Creative Commons licenses.

Funding in entirety by the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC).


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