The Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi
Leadership of the University of Limpopo, and the Medunsa campus
Academic and Non-Academic Staff
Ladies and gentlemen
I must say that I am very pleased to be able to address you today, and to report back to you on the considerable progress that has been made with regard to establishing the new comprehensive health and allied sciences university into which this, the Medunsa Campus of the University of Limpopo, will be incorporated.
When I spoke with you last year, in July 2013, the Joint Technical Task Team (JTT) that was appointed to advise myself and Minister Motsoaledi on the ‘unbundling’ and incorporation process, was still busy with their investigations, engaging with all stakeholders, researching national health priorities and international trends, conducting feasibility studies of what the new university will need in terms of infrastructure, facilities, space and clinical training platforms, and considering the most appropriate governance and management processes and transitional arrangements.
I am glad to inform you that the JTT has completed its report and has presented it to both the Minister of Health and myself, as well as the University of Limpopo Council. I wish to very briefly confirm the findings and recommendations here made today.
First, the JTT has recommended a very exciting academic model and Programme Qualification Mix suitable for a comprehensive health and allied sciences university in the South African context. Submissions were received from various stakeholders, including the academic staff of the University of Limpopo (both here at Medunsa and at Turfloop), the Medical Research Council, Medical and Dental Professions Board, South African Pharmacy Council, Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa, South African Society of Psychiatrists, Chiropractic Association of South Africa, South African Veterinary Council, Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.
Taking these submissions into account, as well as international competitive standards, the health care challenges and needs in South Africa, the strategies intended to address them and the range of health science programmes currently available across the country, it is recommended that a Programme Qualification Mix (PQM) includes:
all programmes currently offered on the Medunsa campus;
certain programmes currently offered at other universities (including the UL Turfloop campus), such as optometry, prosthetics and orthotics, rehabilitation, health promotion, veterinary sciences and emergency medical services; and
certain programmes which are increasingly prominent internationally, such as biomedical technology, bioengineering and medical informatics and companion programmes in areas like health information technology, health science education, aviation medicine, medical law, medical social work and health management.
In addition, a range of postgraduate diploma programmes has to be offered, to enhance the continuing professional development of all health sector workers as part of the process of lifelong learning. We should also progressively build a strong base for Masters and Doctoral programmes in this institution, programmes that should be respected globally. Finally, where resources allow and demand exists, this new university should consider developing and offering additional allied health science programmes, such as in homeopathy and various other traditional, complementary and alternative medicines.
It should be recognised that, because several of these programmes are also offered by other nearby universities, they have implications for the availability of staff and of clinical training platforms. However, the absolute and relative shortages of almost all categories of health professionals in South Africa make it necessary that the new university also offer these programmes, and indeed be comprehensive in its scope.
Furthermore, given the multiple academic, practical, financial and operational implications of establishing the new university, the Interim Council of the new university may need to further engage with internal and external stakeholders and other interested parties to ensure that the best possible arrangements are in place for the successful establishment and operation of the new institution.
This will be particularly necessary in relation to the proposed veterinary programmes. I agree that further investigations, involving all role-players, need to take place as to the feasibility and costs of establishing and operating a veterinary faculty at the new university (or perhaps elsewhere in the country), including research into the supply of and demand for all categories of veterinary professionals, the availability of posts, placement mechanisms and clinical training possibilities.
It is necessary to emphasise that this expanded and extended Programme Qualification Mix will need to be supported by a carefully planned and phased-in expansion of the necessary academic infrastructure, facilities, space and clinical training arrangements, including accommodation for the envisaged increases in student enrolments.
It is essential for the new university to be both academically and financially viable. To support the projected increases in student enrolments (a headcount of 7 000 students by 2019, and 10 000 by 2024), existing space on the Medunsa campus will need to be modified, reassigned and better utilised; and a number of new buildings and facilities will be required, including purpose-built administration, student and science and technology buildings, larger teaching venues, an expanded library building and additional recreational facilities. Most important is the construction of a new Level 3 Academic Hospital, for which the Department of Health is currently conducting a feasibility study.
The expansion of programmes and increased enrolments on the Medunsa campus will require an expansion of places and facilities for clinical training. The new university’s clinical training platform ought to extend north and west of the Medunsa campus, to include the Bojanala District of North West Province and Regions 1 and 2 of the Tshwane metropolitan area in Gauteng Province.
This clinical training platform should be phased-in over time: for instance, the Job Shimankana Tabane Hospital can act initially as a sub-campus for students in training at the surrounding hospitals, and later the new Soshanguve hospital can take over this role. Accommodation and transport arrangements for students and supervisory staff (especially at or near Level 1 and Level 2 hospitals where clinical experience is essential) will also be needed to realise the new institution’s intended community and service orientation.
It is estimated that the total cost of all new buildings and extensions, alterations and renewals of existing buildings for the first five-year phase, 2014/19, of the new health and allied sciences university is likely to require a minimum initial capital injection of almost R1 billion. This can be broken down as follows:
New buildings and other construction: approximately R725 million.
New off-campus housing for clinical training purposes: approximately R33 million.
Extensions, alterations and renewals to existing buildings: approximately R181 million.
It will be important to synchronise all feasibility studies which are currently underway and related to the new university, so that they can be considered simultaneously by Treasury. These include those pertaining to the new academic hospital, the new Polokwane academic health complex, the new Soshanguve hospital and the refurbished Dr George Mukhari Hospital, as well as the feasibility study for the new university.
All infrastructural and clinical training matters will be finalised as soon as possible in joint discussions between the national Department of Health, the relevant provincial Departments of Health, regional public higher education institutions and, of course, the Interim Council of the new university.
With regard to the transitional and incorporation processes, a Protocol for Engagement between the Council of the University of Limpopo and the Interim Council of the new health and allied sciences university has been prepared, with the Department of Higher Education and Training acting as facilitator.
This Protocol, which provides a framework for effective communication, interaction, planning, preparation, implementation and mutual support between the parties during the transitional period, will after due discussion be published as a schedule upon promulgation of the incorporation of the Medunsa campus into the new university.
I support that the ‘unbundling’ and incorporation process should be facilitated by the establishment of Joint Specialised Teams, involving members of both the Turfloop and Medunsa campuses, tasked with conducting audits of all academic programmes, human resources, finances, ICT and student and support structures pertaining to the Medunsa campus, undertaking SWOT analyses, determining priorities, developing action plans and making recommendations to be considered by a steering committee of which the Interim Council of the new university, and the Council of UL, will be members.
Finally, the Department has received several proposals for the name of the new health and allied university. I thank all those who submitted names for your creative contributions. After having carefully considered all of these, in close consultation with various stakeholders, and taking into account the focus and vision of the new institution, I am of the view that we need to do further consultation.
It is also with great pleasure that I announce today the members of the Interim Council, whose task it will be to lay the foundations of this new university (which, incidentally, is the third new public university to be established in South Africa in less than a year). As you are aware, an Interim Council of a university is a statutory body, which is established through the Higher Education Act 1997 (Act 101 of 1997).
The members of the Interim Council will need to perform functions relating to the governance of this institution which means they have the responsibility to establish the Council of this university, the relevant statutory committees and appoint the interim management to manage the new university.
I have invited on the 6th of November 2013 nominations for people whom by virtue of their knowledge, competencies and experience and who should be broadly representative of the higher education system to serve as members of the Interim Council.
Over 37 nominations were considered and I had to select persons with a high level understanding of, and commitment to transformational imperatives; knowledge of and / or experience in governance and management, human resource provision, financial management especially within the higher education environment and knowledge of and / or experience in academic, administrative and financial models as well as infrastructure planning.
Before I do announce the members, it should be noted that the establishment of this new comprehensive health and allied sciences university is unique in its nature and philosophy as it will have a specialised focus on the health and allied sciences. It should also be noted that the establishment of this institution will be enabled by the incorporation of an existing entity consisting of employees and a student body. The incorporation of the Medunsa campus into the new institution and the delinking of this campus from its mother body will become the responsibility of this Interim council.
It is therefore my pleasure to announce the following persons to the Interim Council of the Health and Allied Sciences University:
1. Dr Olive Shisana
She was a former Director-General of the South African Department of Health (1995/1998) responsible for health policy development, transformation of the national health services, development of operational health plans and ensuring their implementation, and setting up monitoring systems.
She was in charge of the implementation of the human resources development, reproductive health, maternal child health, and district health system HIV/AIDS/STD programmes.
Dr. Shisana also launched the maternal death review for South Africa as a strategy to be used to formulate a plan to reduce maternal deaths. She was also a co-author of the policy that led to the restructuring of the South African health care system to ensure universal access to PHC which was introduced throughout South Africa in 1996.
In 1998 Dr Olive Shisana was appointed as the Executive Director – Family and Health Services by the World Health Organisation (WHO) being responsible for family and reproductive health, child health and development, emergency and humanitarian action, human resources development and capacity building, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases, research development and research training in reproductive health, and, integrated delivery of programmes and community health actions.
She will also be the Chair of this Interim Council
2. Prof A Segone
He was employed at University of Limpopo (Medunsa Campus) as a Medical Specialist. He served in several hospitals and institutions as a House Officer, Senior House Officer, Registrar in Surgery, Specialist Surgeon, in Urology, Locum Consultant Urologist/Senior Lecturer in Urology. He was also a member of Pan African Urological Surgeons, Zimbabwe Medical Association, South African Urological Association, Medical Advisory Committee, Medical Executive Committee of Senate, and President of Dr G Mukhari Hospital and is still a member of Surgical Heads at Medunsa from 1993 to date.
3. Mr Paul Slack
He is a registered Chartered Accountant, registered Tax Practitioner, Business rescue Practitioner, member of the Principal Officers Association, SETA accredited Assessor (Fasset and Services), member of the South African Pension Funds Forum and Member of Institute of Directors. Mr Slack owns Fasttrac Freelance Business Specialists, specialising on accounting for CC, Companies and Trusts, tax consulting, business consulting and financial training for educational institutions and corporations.
He is the finance director on call for Independent trusteeships of retirement and medical aid funds specialising on insurance reviews, business process re- engineering, business rescue practitioner and executor of estates. He is an expert in financial and management accounting and contributed to the financial turnaround of the Walter Sisulu University.
4. Ms Sizeni Angel Mchunu
She has five years work experience as a clinical nurse practitioner in various health establishments, ten years experience as a nurse educator at a College of Nursing and seven years experience as a lecturer at University of Zululand in the Nursing Science Department, teaching under-graduate, post-graduate and honours degree programmes. She was the Executive Manager in Nursing Education and Training from 2002/07 at the South African Nursing Council.
She was appointed by the Minister of Health, Dr A. Motsoaledi as an Acting Registrar of the South African Nursing Council for the specified period July 2009- June 2010. During this time, Ms Mchunu was responsible for driving the overall strategy of the Nursing Council and has led several strategic systems development at the Nursing Council. She was mostly repsonsible to eestablish a professional practice division in line with provisions of the Nursing Act, 2005, as proclaimed in 2007 and 2008 as well for the development and implementation of long-term strategy for the Professional Practice Division in Nursing. Other functions relates to the review and implementation of regulatory frameworks, development of standards for nursing practice as well as a generic competency framework and scope of practice for advanced practice nursing and nursing specialisations
5. Dr Nothemba “Nono”Simelela
Dr Simelela is presently tasked by the Office of the Deputy President of South Africa to coordinate the implementation of the new South African National Strategic Plan (NSP) on HIV, TB and Sexually Transmitted Infections 2012/16. She is directly responsible to the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa.
She is also coordinating the institutional and governance renewal of the South African National AIDS Trust. She has led the NSP development process as the CEO of the South African National AIDS Council and currently, is tasked with supporting the implementation of the NSP through all three spheres of government.
As a Director, she supervised a multidisciplinary, multinational and cross cultural team of 25, which included Senior Advisors, Programme Managers, Research Assistants, Finance Officers and other support staff. She has also served as an Executive Board member of the World Health Organisation, representing the IPPF as a technical expert on maternal and child health, adolescent sexual and reproductive health issues, increasing access to safe abortion services sustaining commitment to the outcomes of the International Conference on Population and Development.
She was among the first group of medical students to qualify at the Medical University of Southern Africa (MEDUNSA), where she became the first black South African woman to qualify as a Specialist Obstetrician. Her management experience relating to pandemic responses includes working as the Head of the HIV/AIDS/STI programme in the Ministry of Health in South Africa at a national level. Over the last 24 years she has developed a career involving complex and nuanced national and international health experience, policy development, capacity building, monitoring and evaluation and supporting political leadership in the execution of appropriate programmes.
Her current role as Advisor to the Deputy President has enabled her to acquire sharp skills in a wide range of strategic interventions aligned with the national development agenda, engagement in bilateral and multilateral relationships including other global institutions, philanthropies and foundations.
As was mentioned the last time, this new health and allied sciences university will constitute a significant step towards both expanding and improving quality and equity in health care education in South Africa. By training a new generation of health professionals who are well versed in community-based and patient-centred primary health care, the new university will help to improve the well-being of the many South Africans still marginalised by poverty and lack of access to health care.
The promulgation of this new university will take place shortly as today enabled the announcement of the name of the university as well as the members of the Interim council.
I want to thank you sincerely for attending this significant occasion which marks a new beginning.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS