The Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), Professor Nokuthula Sibiya made a strong call for the transformation of the current curricula for the health professional education training.
“The major challenge in South Africa is that universities that offer health professional education and training have not kept pace with these challenges. The current curricula does not prepare the graduates that are capable to address these challenges. Redesign of the health professional curricula is urgently needed in South Africa,” Prof Sibiya said during her Inaugural Lecture at the Mansfield Hall, on Wednesday, 8 August 2018, which was titled: ‘Transforming the education and training of the health professionals to strengthen the health system in the 21st century: Have we made progress?’
Prof Sibiya began her lecture by acknowledging the immense role by women in this country and in her academic journey in particular, as we commemorate Women’s Month (August), which also coincides with the centenary celebration of struggle icon, Mama Albertina Sisulu.
“To all women present here I would like to thank you for your support in my academic and personal trajectory. I’m surrounded by phenomenal women. I would like to pay a tribute to one special woman, I wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for my mother,” Prof Sibiya said proudly.
Prof Sibiya said these much needed changes in the curricula, are particularly imperative in the South African context because of the diverse challenges faced by our health system.
“South Africa’s quadruple burden of diseases (HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, maternal and child morbidity and mortality, violence and injuries) and shortage of health professionals, particularly in under-sourced and rural areas, continue to place challenges on the health system. The National Development Plan: 2030 Vision, a blueprint of how South Africa can eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030 calls for a radical transformation of the health sector. This requires transformation of health professional education to respond to all these challenges. There is therefore an urgent need to identify innovative, system-transforming solutions that will ensure appropriate supply, mix and distribution of the health workforce,” she explained.
She shared some of the remarkable strides that have been advanced by the Faculty of Health Sciences at DUT. “The Faculty of Health Sciences at DUT produces almost 25 PHC Nurse specialists on annual basis and these graduates are trained to take up positions as part of the District Clinical Specialist Team. The Faculty of Health Sciences also produces Emergency Medical Care and Rescue as well as Environmental Health Practitioners who are part of the Ward Based PHC Outreach and Specialist Support Teams in rPHC. The Department of Nursing at DUT was the first University of Technology to offer the four-year Bachelor Degree in South Africa,” she said.
Prof Sibiya was introduced by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Teaching and Learning, Professor Nomthandazo Gwele, who outlined Prof Sibiya’s academic journey and her impressive achievements. Prof Gwele also confirmed full Professorship to Prof Sibiya to a rapturous applause in the fully packed Mansfield Hall.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and Engagement, Professor Sibusiso Moyo also congratulated Prof Sibiya on her achievement, dubbing her as a “pioneer” and a “woman of steel”. “Prof Sibiya has reached this level because she is a hard working woman. We should also acknowledge her supervisor because mentorship plays an important role in the academic journey,” she said.
This Inaugural Lecture was attended by various representatives from DUT Council, Management and staff, including esteemed DUT external stakeholders, as well as family and friends of Prof Sibiya.
Pictured: Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and Engagement, Professor Sibusiso Moyo, The Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Professor Nokuthula Sibiya and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Teaching and Learning, Professor Nomthandazo Gwele.