17 November 2023 | Story Reuben Maeko | Photo SUPPLIED
Prof Nyoni, Dr Omar Mohamed Al-Ansari and Dr James Campbell
Prof Nyoni hands over the Winterthur Doha Interprofessional Declaration to the President of Qatar University Dr Omar Mohamed Al-Ansari and the WHO Director for Health Workforce Dr James Campbell at the All Together Better Health Conference in Doha, Qatar.

A delegation of five academics from the University of the Free State (UFS) made significant contributions at the recently concluded All Together Better Health Conference (ATBH) in Doha, Qatar. Led by Prof Champion Nyoni, Senior Researcher in the UFS School of Nursing and current Chairperson of Interprofessional.Global, the team showcased their research to an international audience, further solidifying UFS’s commitment to advancing interprofessional education and collaborative practices. 

Engagement at the Conference

The esteemed UFS academics, including Dr Lizemari Hugo-van Dyk (School of Nursing), Dr Anke van der Merwe (School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences), Dr Riaan van Wyk (Clinical Skills and Simulation Unit), and Dr Benjamin Botha (Computer Science and Informatics), actively participated in the conference, presenting their research findings to over 600 delegates from around the world. The ATBH Conference brought together students, educators, researchers, and policymakers with a shared goal of advancing interprofessional education and collaborative practices. 

UFS’s leading role in Interprofessional Education

Interprofessional education (IPE), the focal point of the conference, involves collaborative learning among students from multiple health and social care professions. The UFS has been a trailblazer in the IPE domain, boasting a robust IPE programme that has been running successfully for nearly a decade.

Leadership excellence by Prof Nyoni

Prof Nyoni, as the Chair of Interprofessional. Global, played a pivotal role in the conference, showcasing leadership and communication excellence on a global scale. Interprofessional. Global is a confederation of regional networks worldwide purposed to embed IPE as part of mainstream training for the health workforce globally. His welcome address during the grand opening ceremony, attended by esteemed dignitaries including Her Highness Sheika Moza bint Nasser, the President of Qatar University, and the Director for Health Workforce at the World Health Organization (WHO), marked a momentous occasion. Moreover, Prof Nyoni presented the Winterthur-Doha Interprofessional Declaration to Qatar University and the WHO, symbolically endorsing IPE as a strategy to enhance global health outcomes. 

The Winter-Doha Interprofessional Declaration

Explaining the significance of the Winter-Doha Interprofessional Declaration, Prof Nyoni expressed his excitement, stating, “I am thrilled that the World Health Organisation was forthcoming to receive this declaration – symbolically endorsing IPE as a strategy to enhance our health outcomes.” He added that this declaration would influence global efforts towards true IPE integration, with global representatives within the IPE community contributing to this milestone. 

Research presentations by UFS Academics

The UFS academics delivered impactful presentations at the conference. Drs Hugo-van Dyk and Botha, along with Prof Nyoni, discussed “An Online Programme for Clinical Facilitators in Health Professions Education: A missed opportunity for IPE.” Additionally, they presented on desktop-based virtual reality to enhance role clarification in interprofessional education. Drs Van der Merwe and Van Wyk, along with Prof Nyoni, presented “Educator needs regarding a simulation debriefing programme: A missed opportunity for interprofessional practice at a South African University.” 

Global collaboration and appreciation 

Dr Botha, a member of the African Interprofessional Education Network (AfrlPEN), expressed appreciation for the opportunity, stating, “We have made good milestones globally and we are committed to continue to impact and influence the global space.” Dr van der Merwe echoed this sentiment, acknowledging the chance to connect with like-minded professionals worldwide and expressing gratitude to the UFS for facilitating this opportunity. 

Closing thoughts 

The UFS delegation’s active participation at the ATBH Conference not only underscores the university's commitment to advancing interprofessional education but also reinforces its global leadership in this critical domain. The contributions made at this prestigious event exemplify the UFS’s dedication to collaborative practices that enhance healthcare outcomes on a global scale. 

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