South Africa’s 10th medical college will commence classes under the umbrella of the Nelson Mandela University (NMU) in Port Elizabeth in March 2021, NMU vice-chancellor Sibongile Muthwa announced on Tuesday.
The university will receive applications from 6 January for its first cohort of students, with the medical school set to enrol its first in-take in March, Muthwa said.
According to the vice chancellor, the medical school will be located at the varsity's Missionvale Campus which is close to the Dora Nginza Hospital and a number of other clinics within the city.
“It gives me the greatest pleasure to announce that Nelson Mandela University has received the final approval to offer the MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) in the country’s 10th medical school with effect from the 2021 academic year,” Muthwa said.
She noted that the final accreditation for the medical school came at a “significant” time as the country grappled with the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic that has placed even greater pressure on its health system.
The institution received approval from the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to offer the MBChB qualification for its students, she said.
The MBChB qualification would be a six-year degree that would produce graduates who are competent to work as interns in South African hospitals, according to the university.
“The university will be using an innovative, transformative, distributive teaching model that will see students come together to study across health science disciplines and leverage the benefits of technology – all towards their service to society, especially within the metro,” the NMU said.
Expectations are that the medical school would in future help address the shortage of qualified health professionals, the NMU said, adding that 65 percent of all public doctors’ posts were vacant with only one doctor serving 4,230 people in the Eastern Cape Province.