SA’s tenth medical school will be open in 2020 at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.
News24 reports that NMMU vice chancellor Professor Derrick Swartz said the decision was made on 6 July when the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande requested NMMU to proceed with creating a new medical school by 2020 and to expand its existing portfolio of health sciences programmes in 10 different health professional categories.
The report says according to NMMU spokesperson, Debbie Derry, the university has been campaigning for years to establish the second medical school in the Eastern Cape. “The momentous decision comes after years of campaigning by the university for the creation of a second medical school in the Eastern Cape province, in addition to the existing one based at Walter Sisulu University (WSU) in Mthatha,” Derry said.
According to the university, South Africa is lagging behind many countries with regards to medical doctors per 1 000 population. “In 2008, South Africa had 0.9 (medical professionals]) per 1 000 population compared with Brazil at 1.9, Mexico 1.8, the UK 2.47 and Australia 2.3. The UK has 120 000 doctors for a population of 60m; South Africa, with a population over 50m, only has approximately 27 000 doctors.”
The report says the Department of Higher Education has provided R72.3m over three years to NMMU, starting in 2014, to set up, among other things, new pre-medical programmes to allow for multi-entry-options towards the MBChB degree. These students may then qualify for third-year MBChB enrolment in 2020, which is also the target year for intake of NMMU’s first year school-leavers for the same degree.
Starting with an initial total intake of 50, the numbers will grow incrementally to 200 undergraduate students, as well as starting to introduce medical specialist training programmes, the report said.News24 report