The School of Health Sciences (SHS) hosted a successful Decentralised Clinical Training Platform (DCTP) strategy meeting on the Westville campus for representatives of disciplines within the School of Health Sciences.
The meeting was also attended by clinicians and officials from the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health (KZN DoH).
This strategic meeting allowed academics and site-based clinicians to communicate and share their annual plans of placing students in identified clinical training sites, ie hospitals which have been assessed and found to be sufficiently equipped and resourced to handle the training needs of clinical students. Successes and challenges of the programme were also discussed at length during this meeting.
The training platform is a collaborative initiative of UKZN’s College of Health Sciences and the KZN DoH aimed at ensuring South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal produce an adequate number of healthcare professionals who are “fit for purpose in a primary health care model”. The vision is for the platform to be the driving force behind the re-engineering of the College of Health Science’s curriculum to ensure UKZN produces competent health care professionals who are prepared for the changing dynamics of healthcare in a developing world.
The University of KwaZulu-Natal and the KZN DoH have signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which helps provide opportunities for everyone in the College to be a part of the process to produce competent graduates who will extend quality healthcare to all parts of the population.
‘This Programme is not only about practical knowledge meeting experience, but also involves exposing students to great role models in hospitals,’ said the Academic Leader at UKZN’s Discipline of Occupational Therapy, Professor Kitty Uys.
Academic Service’s Director and co-developer of the UKZN DCTP model, Professor Fani Botha, emphasised the need for a state of readiness because the platform would be expected to plan and provide clinical training for about 320 medical students who return from Cuba in 2018. ‘This will not be easy but the platform should be ready to accommodate such a large number, with further clinical training sites in other KZN provincial hospitals and community healthcare centres being explored.’
Chief Director in the Unit of Public Health and Non-Communicable Disease, Dr Jimmy Mthethwa of the KZN DoH, emphasised the need to strengthen communication channels between implementers of the DCPT and also advocated support and ownership for the programme in hospitals.
The Department of Health is currently conducting DCTP roadshows and informing hospital communities about the programme while also tabling expected outcomes of the programme.
DCTP will from this month place students in the fields of dental therapy, occupational therapy, optometry, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, audiology, and pharmacy usually on a four-week rotation basis at Ngwelezane, Mfolozi, Port Shepstone, GJ Crooks Hospital, and Stanger Hospital.
Some disciplines will place students on this training platform for the first time while others have been continuously and successfully providing clinical training through the programme for students over the past few years.