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DUT coffers increased by R30 million

DUT coffers increased by R30 million

Media statement by Nomonde Mbadi, Executive Director of Corporate Affairs

DUT coffers increased by R30 million

A generous donation to the Durban University of Technology (DUT) to the tune of R30 million by The Atlantic Philanthropies, an international foundation active in South Africa, will empower the University to establish a new under-graduate nurse training programme. The University has already received the first installment of R10 million (the R30 million will be spread over a 5 year period). Professor Nomthandazo Gwele, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences is ecstatic about the news: “This money is earmarked to establish a four year nursing programme, allowing the University to address the nursing needs of the country”.

“This cash injection will allow the University to improve infrastructure at our Indumiso Site in the Midlands. Renovations, state of the art teaching and learning equipment in the sciences, clinical skills and computer laboratories are all on the cards”, said Professor Gwele. She also explained that the grant will be utilized to equip a library with teaching materials (digital and text) for the nursing programme. Staffing (lecturers and lab technicians) will also be covered by the grant.

“This project will in effect address the brain-drain the country experiences when it comes to health care professionals” said Gwele. “The crux of the matter is, when nurses are traditionally trained, the first place they think to work at is a hospital. We want to change the focus of training nurses so they are prepared for Primary Health Care (PHC) as opposed to preparing nurses for only hospital settings”. The PHC focused training will be community based.

The first group of 100 students will be admitted in July 2009. The University is currently in negotiations with the KZN Department of Health for funding student bursaries. The DUT has pledged a further R20 million to the project, ensuring sustainability. The Atlantic Philanthropies initially funded a feasibility study at a cost of R600 000 to ensure the viability of the project.

In the long term, the project hopes to enhance the appreciation of Universities of Technology as centres of excellence for community based nursing education.

“We believe that educating and retaining health professionals who can work on the community level, and deploying them to the most underserved areas in South Africa, is key to strengthening the infrastructure of South Africa’s public health care system,” said Zola Madikizela, Programme Executive for Population Health at The Atlantic Philanthropies. “Atlantic is proud to support the new nurse training programme at the Durban University of Technology, which will prepare a new generation of health professionals for careers in the communities where they are needed most.”

About the Durban University of Technology

The Durban University of Technology (DUT) endeavours to be a leading University of Technology in Africa that nurtures holistic education and the advancement of knowledge. With approximately 23 000 students, DUT is the first choice for higher education in KwaZulu-Natal. It is located in the beautiful cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg. To learn more about the university, please visit: www.dut.ac.za

About The Atlantic Philanthropies. The Atlantic Philanthropies are dedicated to bringing about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Atlantic focuses on four critical social problems: Ageing, Disadvantaged Children & Youth, Population Health, and Reconciliation & Human Rights. Programmes funded by Atlantic operate in Australia, Bermuda, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Viet Nam. To learn more, please visit: www.atlanticphilanthropies.org.

For further information, please contact Bhekani Dlamini on (031) 373 2845 to facilitate the interview.