On-site residence facility to keep medical students safe

On-site residence facility to keep medical students safeThe South African Human Rights Commission's visit to Free State Psychiatric Complex has uncovered appalling conditions at the facility. (File Photo Credit: Health-e / Hannah Chibayambuya)

The newly renovated residence facility solves numerous challenges faced in the health care sector in northern Gauteng.

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The residence facility built for students who are part of the Nelson Mandela Fidel Castro (NMFC) medical training programme will ensure that they remain safe during their studies. The training facility at the Jubilee District Hospital, in Hammanskraal, was renovated in partnership between the hospital and the Gauteng department of health to house students from the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU).

Safety first

Lindi Rampa, the assistant director for student affairs at SMU, says the housing of students at the hospital is a proactive move by the university to ensure the safety of students.

“We have been concerned about safety as management and we don’t want to see [crimes] happening to students. We’re trying to curb that [by] being proactive. I’m grateful to the fact that the Department of Infrastructure Development (DID), the hospital and the department renovated the space so that our students can be trained on-site. The accommodation is on-site and that is going to cover the issue of security and the transportation of students here to Pretoria on a daily basis.”

Besides the 62 students who were trained in Cuba, final year students are also housed at the facility.

“We have final year students who are doing their outreach training… in family medicine, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, and internal medicine. These groups send in five students from each [cluster]. From allied health, we send in radiographers, occupational therapists, nurses and physiotherapists,” says Rampa.

Programme expansion

The NMFC programme aims to learn from the Cuban primary health care model and implement a South African version in rural facilities such as Jubilee. 

The hospital is one of the 10 institutions identified as the extended training platform for the NMFC programme. It is one of the government’s strategies to address challenges in the public health sector.

Gauteng health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku says that the integration of the students into the hospital will improve service delivery.

“The most important thing is that the students who were trained in Cuba will be actually be stationed here, [be integrated] into the health system in South Africa. They are going to add the extra hands that we really need in our spaces of pressure like casualty and other areas.”

More hospitals

The hospital has previously been in the news due to poor service and overcrowding. The MEC says that plans are underway to build two more hospitals in the northern areas of Gauteng to address these issues.

“You’ll know that Dr George Mukhari Hospital is under serious strain and serious pressure because it is the only tertiary hospital [in] northern part of Gauteng. When we have Jubilee and Soshanguve Hospitals, we know that the pressure at George Mukhari will be much less. And there is a very great catchment area for Soshanguve and this one. Jubilee is close to the N1 and will serve as one of the trauma centres in the province.”

A lot of good happening too

Acting CEO at Jubilee District Hospital, Dr Olebogeng Modise says it is about time the facility is noticed for good reasons.  

“As a hospital that has been in the news for the wrong reasons, we feel great that there are positive things that we do as a hospital and we want to trend for the right reasons.”

He also says that the programme will assist the health department to achieve its National Health Insurance (NHI) goals.

“We look at this as one of those steps where we will enable the department to realise the goals of NHI because we are now increasing the workforce in the department and we are also uplifting the lives of our communities because most of the students come from disadvantaged communities. They will then be able to go and plough back to those communities,” says Modise. – Health-e News 

An edited version of this story was published by Health24.