Prof Eunice Seekoe, a distinguished academic who has made a meaningful contribution in the higher education space has now joined the SMU as DVC Teaching, Learning and Community Engagement. Padi Matlala from communications speaks to her to find out her plans in this critical portfolio.
As Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) teaching, learning and community engagement, what is it that you are planning to do to prepare health professionals trained at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) to meet the demands of the NHI and the 4IR?
Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University is in its fifth year of existence and is the only one of its kind in South Africa. Human resources are critical to the achievement of Universal Health Coverage reform. Competent health professionals are required to ensure high quality health systems and success in the NHI implementation. South Africa is introducing a national Digital Health Strategy required for the implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI).
The NHI and the National Digital Health Strategy during the 4IR will transform the way health services are provided and the way in which health professionals engage with services. The 4IR takes place at an opportune time for transforming the health system in South Africa. These innovative transformative imperatives present great opportunities for educating health sciences students at SMU.
These innovations will benefit patients who are seeking access to health care services. Patients will be empowered to make choices of health facilities to use based on the quality of care they receive. Health systems managers will be able to fulfil their roles. Health care professionals will provide better services and empower all citizens to manage their personal health routines using Digital Technologies. SMU graduates will contribute towards health sector priorities in assisting the country to deal with the quadruple burden of disease, improving quality of health care, improving mother and child health and support health systems transformation for the NHI.
In order to support the above, I will ensure that SMU produces health professionals with the right skills, competence and values, who will graduate as transformational and ethical leaders, self-directed and lifelong learners. SMU will produce graduates who are independent, critical thinkers, problem solvers, decision makers and team workers who embrace technology and communicate effectively. These graduates will be able to identify, analyse and address the health care needs of individuals, families, community and the population at large.
SMU graduates will be able to respond to the National Department of Health’s Strategic Principles of a person-centred focus, expanded access, innovation for sustainable impact, digital health work force for economic development. Our graduates will be able to compete locally and globally.