The Faculty of Medicine welcomes academic partnerships which serve various purposes. The Faculty has signed some Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) as listed below:
International Organisation for Migration (www.iom.int). This Link achieved IOM-funded visiting lectureships as well as support of teaching activities by providing laptops, digital projectors, anatomical models, projection screens and other teachings aides.
Chosun University, Korea (www.chosun.ac.kr). This is a general academic Link.
The Zimbabwe Eye Project (www.zimeyeproject.com). This is an academic Link which has great prospects for growing into partnerships addressing teaching/training in the basic and social medical sciences as well as in the clinical disciplines.
Grassrootsoccer Zimbabwe (www.grassrootsoccer.org). Under this Link is a promising research collaboration into voluntary male medical circumcision.
The Faculty welcomes further partnerships, including the new model of Private-Public-Partnerships (PPPs).
OBJECTIVES OF ACADEMIC LINKAGES
Academic links usually encompass the following objectives (subject to funding and agreement by the partners):
i. Multi-professional education and training – at undergraduate and postgraduate level
The Faculty has been focussing on getting its flagship programme, the MBBS, off the blocks. Now that the Faculty is recognised by the local Medical Council, there is opportunity to expand the ambit of teaching to other allied health sciences such as Pharmacology, Public Health, Midwifery, Nursing Sciences, Health Education and Promotion as well as the appropriate postgraduate programmes.
ii. Exchange of clinicians, faculty members, research scholars and students
These exchanges provide exposure of staff to different/newer /more modern techniques and ways of doing things. Students’ horizons would also be expanded in exchange programmes and their interest in the field of Medicine would be enhanced.
iii. Collaborative and joint research activities and publications
Research funding severely limits research performance and output. Multi-foci / multi-disciplinary studies produce rich data sets which are of greater utility for holistic medical practice and are more likely to be funded by philanthropic organisations. Zimbabwe is a third world country with some serious challenges in the health sector. As such, it is ripe ground for health-sector research. It is also important to carry out research to provide data that would guide local practice and patient management. Data that emanates from other countries may not embed well because of differences in disease burden as well as differences in nutrition and other cultural practices.
iv Once there is research output, it is important to disseminate those results at Conferences for peer review even before the formal publication in a journal. Conference experiences are essential for academic scientific growth. Participation in conferences, seminars and other academic meetings is, therefore, encouraged.
v. Development of systems and improvement of services including IT –based patient information systems. With the advent of the education resources network (ENREN), strategies to obtain some tele-teaching can be the beginning point. As a further development such IT-based services can be stretched, eventually, to tele-medicine.
vi. Exchange of academic materials and information
Zimbabwe is rather challenged with academic materials and information because of the macro-economic melt-down during the decade 2000-2010. Recovery from that melt-down has been much slower than anticipated. Therefore the Faculty still stands to benefit from “hand-me-down” books, electronic teaching resources and even laboratory equipment.
vii. Special short-term academic programmes or courses
Short courses are a very good way of up-skilling staff and practitioners without removing them for long periods such as what would be necessitated by formal postgraduate courses. Short courses are popular because the practitioner can still give some service to his patients and the hospital, the lecturer can still lecture to his students and practice gaps are minimised.
Management of Academic Linkages
Usually, each partner establishes a Steering Group to oversee and support the Link. Specific activities and visits are evaluated and each partner provides feedback to the other. The MOU and development plans are reviewed and amended as necessary from time to time