Zimbabwe’s medical and health sciences education is set to undergo significant transformation in line with the country’s Heritage-based Education 5.0 philosophy and emerging global trends. The technological innovations that have characterised the 4th industrial revolution (4IR) have resulted in groundbreaking advances in healthcare. Notable developments include mRNA technology which is used for COVID-19 vaccines, precision medicine for individually tailored treatments, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics for drug research, quicker and more accurate diagnosis, Telehealth and telemedicine for remote clinical and non-clinical services, and neurotechnology for brain imaging and neurostimulation among other uses.
The list of technology-led advances is endless and is complemented by advances in other aspects of life. Thus, the need to re-image and redesign the training of the country’s healthcare professionals to match current and future developments in medicine and health sciences is axiomatic.
Speaking at a workshop hosted by the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE) at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) on the 2nd of February 2023, the Vice-chairperson of the ZIMCHE Council and UZ Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Mapfumo, called on medical and health sciences experts to apply their minds to strengthen the science that addresses the fundamentals in the training of medical doctors and other medical practitioners. He also impressed upon them the need to enhance the appropriation of science, technology and innovation into the medical space to ensure that students that receive training in the country are given the agility and versatility to manoeuvre and pursue their desired career paths within the fields of medicine and health sciences.
In the same vein, the ZIMCHE Chief Executive Officer, Professor Kuzvinetsa P. Dzvimbo, said there was a need for a seismic paradigm shift in training medical and health sciences professionals. He emphasised the need to incorporate futures research in shaping the curriculum and urged participants to approach curriculum development from both an organic and meta-intellectual perspective.
Professor F. Gumbo, the ZIMCHE’s Life and Health Sciences Chief Director, said the main objectives of the one-day workshop were to engage academics and professionals involved in the training of doctors and other medical and health sciences professionals, to explore ways of aligning the curriculum and developing Education 5.0 complaint minimum bodies of knowledge and skills (MBK/s).
Among those who attended the workshop were faculty from local universities and representatives from professional bodies such as the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe (MDPCZ), Allied Health Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe (AHPCZ) and Medical Laboratory and Clinical Scientist Council of Zimbabwe (MLCSCZ).