Official opening of Faculty of Health Sciences Rural Community Initiative

The Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of the Free State (UFS) has, as part of its commitment to student and community development, established a student residence in the town of Trompsburg in the Kopanong Local municipality, Xhariep District municipality in the Southern Free State.  The Faculty officially opened the Faculty of Health Sciences Rural Community Initiative on 14 and 15 June 2017.

Click here for video (Trompsburg rural development: Unite to Heal)

Opening1b
Official unveiling of the memorial plaque by Prof Gert van
Zyl (Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences) and
Prof Francis Petersen (Vice-Chancellor of the
University of the Free State).

Opening2b
Official ribbon cutting, Prof van Zyl and Ms du Plessis
Venter (community member).

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Dr René Botha (Coordinator for CBE and
Rural Health FHS), Prof Gert van Zyl (Dean
of the Faculty of Health Sciences) and
Prof André Venter (MACAH)

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Lecturing facilities at the residence

Purpose

The Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of the Free State (UFS) has, as part of its commitment to student and community development, established a student residence in the town of Trompsburg in the Kopanong Local municipality, Xhariep District municipality in the Southern Free State.  The Faculty officially opened the Faculty of Health Sciences Rural Community Initiative on 14 and 15 June 2017.

Who was in attendance (participants)

University of the Free State (UFS):Opening5a-1
The Vice Chancellor and rector of the University of the Free State, Prof Petersen.
Members of the UFS council, Dr Vinger and Dr Swart, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Prof van Zyl.
The Head of the School of Allied Health Professions, Dr van Vuuren.
The Head of the School of Medicine, Prof Kruger.
Faculty from the Faculty of Health Sciences.
Members from UFS institutional support department: ICT, Finance, Facilities management

Kopanong local municipality:
Councillor Basholo, representing the Kopanong local municipality.
Kopanong local community members
Free State Department of Education (DoE)
Free State Department of Health (DoH)

Private sector partners:
Mr Burgess, CEO of MDG Heath Solutions
The Mother And Child Academic Hospital (MACAH) represented by Prof Venter, head of department of Paediatrics, donated two (2) state of the art baby scales to the rural health programme.

The importance of the residence:

The goal of the ‘Kopanang le fodise – Unite to heal’ programme is to develop a community-centered collaborative framework for sustainable, holistic healthcare and social development incorporated in the curricula of the Faculty.

Background of the project:

During 2016 a total of 324 fourth-year students of the Faculty have each spend at least a week in interprofessional groups in primary healthcare facilities in the Kopanong municipality on a Community Based Education, Interprofessional Education (CBE-IPE) platform in Trompsburg and Springfontein.

To facilitate student rural placement the former Midway guesthouse currently includes seven (7) facilitator units with on suite bathrooms, two (2) fully equipped lecture facilities, a recreation room and a library with computers and internet access.  The newly developed student residence has 10 apartments that can each accommodate six (6) individuals.  A housemaster resides on the premises and acts as manager of the facility.  All areas of the residence are Wifi covered and 24h security service is in place.

Students rotating through the towns of Trompsburg and Springfontein (27km south of Trompsburg) follow a set Weekly Programme that included a variety of interactions with the community. Opening5b-2

Student activities on the platform

The Community Youth Leadership Project is concerned with empowerment and enablement of leadership amongst the youth in the community, towards acknowledging and addressing the health and social concerns experienced by community members.

The facility has during the past 18 months also been used by students engaged in associated CBE activities of the Faculty as well as the local community, the Free State Departments of Health and Education.  Thus illustrating co-ownership and the communal nature of the rural community initiative.
The next phase of the project is to extend the exposure of IPE student groups to the truly marginalised by establishing a Mobile Clinic specifically aimed at providing healthcare service to the Kopanong farming community.  The extended services in collaboration with the DoH will address health promotion, maternal and child health, HIV-AIDS, chronic-, communicable-, non- communicable diseases and visual impairments.


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E: StudentAdminFHS@ufs.ac.za

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