Faculty of Health Sciences to celebrate centenary

By Naledi Mashishi

The Wits Faculty of Health Sciences will be observing its 100th birthday through a range of activities and events in 2019. The Faculty which is based at the Wits Medical Campus in Parktown will showcase its achievements and strengths while identifying areas for growth during its centenary celebrations.

Assistant Dean in the Faculty of Health Sciences Dr Wezile Chita says that each of the Faculty’s seven schools will celebrate their individual achievements through a series of events.
The planned programme also includes a visit to Australia by a team of Health Sciences staff, led by Dean Martin Veller, to engage with alumni there.

“We want to draw our graduates from Australia and New Zealand to keep them up to date with the faculty’s progresses and engage with them on their experiences,” Chita told Wits Vuvuzela.

Included in the faculty’s centenary celebration plans is a booklet documenting the history of the faculty and its contributions to medicine and science in the country and abroad.

The Adler Museum, located on Medical Campus, will also host a dedicated centenary exhibition starting before the end of June.

Chita says that the faculty has grown over the years to become the biggest medical faculty on the continent.

“Wits is diverse, innovative, globally competitive, and locally responsive,” Chita says. “We are embedded in the development of the public health system and our students have influenced policy on [antiretroviral drugs], the sugar tax, and research on malaria and infectious diseases.”

The faculty’s plans include strengthening partnerships, reaching out to the private sector to increase student and staff involvement, and expanding and developing its rural clinical school in Mpumalanga in partnership with the Mpumalanga Department of Health.

“We are following the university’s framework in forming institutional partnerships in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, and Africa. We want to develop further to join the top 100 medical universities in the world,” Chita says.

Precious Magane, a BHs Chemical Pathology honours student, says that although her time at Wits has been academically difficult, she believes that the Faculty of Health Sciences is among the best in the country.
“They have the best researchers and the best facilities. The academic standards here are very high,” she says.

It is estimated that 24 000 – 26 000 students have graduated from the faculty over the past 100 years. Notable alumni include: Nobel Prize Laureates, Sydney Brenner and Aaron Klug, and surgeon, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Patrick Soon-Shiong.

FEATURED IMAGE: The Wits Faculty of Health Sciences will be celebrating its 100th birthday.
Photo: Naledi Mashishi

SRC Elections: Ain’t no drama in this life

The first day of the Wits SRC elections kicked off yesterday without any incident following a week characterised by disruptions, suspensions and cancellations.

The first leg of the Wits SRC (Student Representative Council) elections kicked off at the med school and education campuses without incident yesterday. This despite threats ealier in the week from from EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) chairperson, Advocate Dali Mpofu. Mpofu, speaking at Wits on August 24, promised to establish a team that would disrupt the elections if the suspensions of the Wits EFF members were not lifted.

Wits Campus Control officers at the polling booths (who refused to be named), told Wits Vuvuzela before voting started that they were not expecting any disruptions.

Representatives of the various student parties were present at both voting stations and actively encouraged voters to vote for their parties.

The initial voter turnout was slow but picked up over the course of the day.

Phumlile Motloung, first year BEd, said she voted because the current SRC helped her with things such as accommodation, food and she feels that by voting, she will be doing her bit.

Alexander Loukakis, BEd, said he’s voting because it’s his right and he believes that by voting he will  know who to turn to if he ever needs help.

Some students were not keen to vote however as they felt their campuses are generally overlooked.

Chris Dube, 5th year MBBCh, said, “I’m not actually voting because I’m sure the SRC does do stuff for other students but they are not visible here on medical campus”.

Sne Mkhwanazi, 2nd year MBBCh said, “I don’t think it’s going to do anything for me. They are all making similar promises to us … and I don’t think they are going to fulfil them”.

The elections continue at the education and medical school campuses today, and comes to the main campuses on the 1st and 2nd August 2015.