Medical Education Partnership Initiative Receives KZN Excellence Award
Professor Jack Moodley, Professor Raziya Bobat and Professor Douglas Wassenaar received a Service Excellence Award from KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, on behalf of the UKZN Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) team.
The award made special mention of MEPI’s contribution to medical training in rural health settings.
The team was pleasantly surprised by the nomination which they said was unexpected.
The three professors, who are not sure who nominated them for the award, said they were privileged to be part of a great MEPI team, initially led by Professor Umesh Lalloo, and later by Dr Sandy Pillay.
Pillay, current Communicating Principal Investigator on MEPI, and Wassenaar received the award on behalf of the UKZN MEPI team at a ceremony at the Durban Exhibition Centre.
‘Other MEPI co-Principal Investigators, Professor Raziya Bobat and Professor Jack Moodley, contributed their own strong abilities and areas of excellence as did the many, many competent UKZN and KZN DoH collaborators and other academics who supported UKZN MEPI,’ said Wassenaar.
Moodley led a component called Essential Steps in the Management of Obstetric Emergencies and Emergency Obstetrics Simulation Training (ESMOE-EOST- modular training and ‘fire drills’) into the UKZN MEPI programme. This type of training for undergraduates and postgraduates, interns, professional nurses and nursing lecturers was promoted and supported by Dhlomo, Lalloo and Dr Neil Moran, the KZN Provincial Director of Obstetric Services.
ESMOE-EOST demonstrates a constructive and effective collaboration between health services and educational institutions to improve the quality of care provided to pregnant women and their infants.
Wassenaar emphasised that the UKZN MEPI initiative was fortunate to have excellent support staff in Dr Nisha Nadesan-Reddy, Ms Nivedhna Singh, Ms Aruna Sevakram, and Mr Prem Ramnarain, who anchored the complex project and drove the deliverables.
‘The funders, the Fogarty International Center of the US National Institutes of Health, also gave UKZN MEPI strong support through very difficult times experienced at UKZN due to the change to the College model,’ said Wassenaar.
The US MEPI funds foreign institutions in sub-Saharan African countries that receive PEPFAR support and their partners to develop or expand and enhance models of medical education.
MEPI aimed to advance PEPFAR’s goal of increasing the number of new health care workers by 140 000, strengthen in-country medical education systems, and build clinical and research capacity in Africa as part of a retention strategy for faculty of medical schools and clinical professors.
The Initiative supports African institutions in a dozen countries, forming a network including more than 30 regional partners, country health and education ministries, and more than 20 US and foreign collaborators.
Working with bright young minds who want to make a difference to South Africa through locally relevant excellent research for evidence-based health practice, keeps Wassenaar going. ‘In health there are always new challenges and more questions than answers - new healthcare challenges keep emerging, demanding competent research and intervention.’