Dr WW Chitha

It is my pleasure and honour to welcome both students and staff to the Faculty of Health Sciences at Walter Sisulu University (WSU).

The Faculty of Health Sciences celebrated its 25th anniversary at the end of 2010. We are an established Faculty that has made its mark not only locally at WSU, but also nationally and globally.

Strength in problem-based learning, community-based education

The area of strength for this Faculty is Problem-Based Learning and Community-Based Education. This was one of the commendations by the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) when the Institutional Audit was conducted at this university in April 2011.


Community-Based Education has made us focus on the health needs of the people we serve, especially the disadvantaged. Focusing on the health needs of the community has made us to be seen by the whole world as being one of leading Faculties in Socially Accountable Health Professions Education globally.

Excellence through relevance

This also goes with a clear demonstration of a strong partnership between the Faculty, the Community and the Eastern Cape Department of Health. Our Motto is “Excellence through Relevance”.

Faculty of Health Sciences a faculty of firsts

We are a Faculty of firsts:

  • The first Faculty of Health Sciences in South Africa to introduce an undergraduate degree in Health Promotion. Up to now, no other Faculty has followed.
  • The first Faculty of Health Sciences in South Africa to introduce Problem-Based Learning and Community-Based Education in Medical Education.
  • One of the two Faculties of Health Sciences in South Africa to first introduce an integrated 5-year MB ChB curriculum.
  • The first Faculty of Health Sciences with a Medical School in South Africa to incorporate Social Work.
  • The first Faculty of Health Sciences in South Africa to offer the Clinical Associate Programme.
  • The first Clinical Associates in South Africa were produced by Walter Sisulu University in December 2010, and are working at twelve District Hospitals within the Eastern Cape Province.
  • If approved by the Department of Education and Training, will be the first Faculty of Health Sciences to offer a degree in Orthotics and Prosthetics possibly in 2014 or 2015.
  • Is planning to be the first Faculty of Health Sciences in South Africa to introduce placement of all its medical students at district hospitals for a continuous period of 20 weeks during the 5th year of study from year 2014. This innovation was commended by the Health Professions Council of South Africa during the accreditation visit in August 2011.

To the new students, the selection of students into our programmes remains a challenge, especially for the MBChB degree.

Maintaining high quality

The admission into our programmes is restricted by staffing, space and equipment, so as to maintain high quality production.

Double intake by 2020

We have now submitted a proposal to the National Department of Health requesting financial support so as to be able to double the intake of medical students by 2020 and triple the intake of clinical associates, in addition to increased intake in nursing, health promotion, social work, medical scientists and medical specialists.

New programmes – Dietetics, Speech Pathology & Hearing, Occupational Therapy, Infection Control, Health Informatics, HIV/Aids

We also have a vision to introduce new programmes in the near future within the School of Allied Health Sciences such as Dietetics, Speech Pathology and Hearing, Occupational Therapy, Infection Control, Health Informatics and HIV and AIDS.

I would like to remind all of us that individuals come and go, be they staff or students. The institution is bigger and more important than all of us.

Let us, therefore, not focus on ourselves as individuals but at the bigger picture, by working together as a team, and contribute positively to the growth of this institution, particularly the Faculty of Health Sciences, for the sake of the youth and future citizens of this country.

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