Faculty of Health Sciences

Message from the Dean

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

We are an established Faculty that has made its mark not only locally at WSU but also nationally and globally.

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 enabled us to be seen by the whole world as being one of the leading Faculties in Socially Accountable Health Professions Education globally.

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”.

We are a Faculty of firsts:

  • The first Faculty of Health Sciences in South Africa to introduce an undergraduate degree in Health
  • 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.
  • The first Faculty of Health Sciences in South Africa to offer the Clinical Associate Programme
  • The first Faculty of Health Sciences in South Africa to introduce placement of all medical students at district hospitals for a continuous period of 20 weeks during the 5th year of study in medicine.
  • The first Faculty of Health Sciences in South Africa to establish a Centre for Global Health and Research.

To the new students, the selection of students into our programmes is very competitive. Too many applicants compete for a limited number of spaces.

Admission into our programmes is restricted by staffing, space and equipment, so as to maintain high-quality teaching and learning.

We continue to explore ways to increase our capacity, working together with the National Department of Health, Eastern Cape Department of Health and Department of Higher Education and Training, so as to be able to double our intake of medical students and triple the intake of clinical associates, in addition to an increased intake in nursing, health promotion, medical scientists and medical specialists.

We also have the vision to introduce new programmes in the near future within the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine such as Dietetics, Physiotherapy, Speech Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy.

The gazetting of Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital as a Central Hospital in the Eastern Cape has empowered the government and the University to proceed in earnest with efforts to build a new Faculty of Health Sciences adjacent to Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital. Construction of phase one is complete.

Working together with the Department of Higher Education and Training, Eastern Cape Department of Health and our partners, we have prepared district hospitals in terms of equipment, staffing and student accommodation and have given them the opportunity to participate in the teaching platform through our Community-Based Education.

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. It is important for all of us to receive this institution of integrity with such a proven track record in society and hand over a better Walter Sisulu Faculty of Health Sciences to future generations.

Let us, therefore, build on our strengths, convert our weaknesses to opportunities, 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.

I would like to remind every student that being admitted into study to this faculty is an opportunity of a lifetime.

Take it! Treasure it! Make the best out of it.

Professor AJ Mbokazi, Dean of Health Sciences