The Division of Infectious Diseases at Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) have received a generous donation from the humanitarian organisation, Medicine Sans Frontières (MSF), for the expansion and improvement of its unique Postgraduate Diploma in Infectious Diseases (PGDipID) which focuses on the African healthcare context.
“The Division of Infectious Diseases has a very good relationship with MSF,” says Mr Felix Spies, manager of FMHS Fundraising and Partnerships. “The donation, valued at R2,2 million a year for three years, is an extension of an existing memorandum of understanding between these two partners.”
“Globally there are many courses in Tropical Medicine, but ours focus more broadly on infectious diseases and we try to add practical value from an African health care perspective,” says Prof Jantjie Taljaard, head of the Division of Infectious Diseases at SU’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS).
Although the PGDipID is presented in hybrid format, the teaching and learning strategy is clinically orientated and case based. Tutors are allocated to a small group of participants over the full two-year period.
“Participants are from all over Africa and mainly from rural poorly-resourced environments, including war ravished countries like South Sudan. They often need more in-depth guidance and constant communication to address daily clinical questions but also guidance with personal, learning and technical needs,” explains Taljaard. “Adding direct, online small-group tutoring and mentoring to the programme makes the programme unique amongst other similar international programmes.”
On the importance of the programme, Taljaard comments: “It is no secret that infectious diseases have a profound impact on lives and economies on the African continent. Therefore, this programme speaks directly to the Faculty mission to enhance health and health equality.”
- Author:Wilma Stassen
- Photo: Damien Schumann