To realise the vision above, the Department of Health Studies will offer quality programmes to learners within the caring ethic, empowering them with competencies to meet the health and development needs of communities nationally and internationally.
Within the vision of the University and that of the College of Human Sciences, the Department of Health Studies envisions optimising learner potential and social responsibility towards health and development.
Challenges to Health Education
Health care plays a vital role in the process of the globalisation of human endeavour. Economic and social globalisation depends not only on political, diplomatic, entrepreneurial and technological skills. Its success depends largely on the health status of the global community. This is not a static situation. It is a constantly evolving process shaped by the realities of social existence in a vulnerable environment.
Ongoing studies by the health professions of the phenomena impacting on their roles and the health scenario are essential to implement education for effective action. Nothing can be taken for granted.
To this end the the multi-disciplinary health team is gearing its educational programmes for effective multi-disciplinary co-operation and for global significance of health services capable of coping with the realities of the new millennium. This is apparently the trend in all the health care professions.
University departments of health studies see their role as equipping health professionals intellectually and professionally to develop the values, principles, structures, methods, competencies and interdisciplinary relationships so essential for dealing with the changing social, political and technological pressures which impact on the health of nations.
The African Renaissance
The African Renaissance, which is the vision of all African nations, as well as the globalisation of so many of humankind's activities, will make unprecedented demands on the health care professions.
The ever-changing and expanding kaleidoscope of health needs within the many divergent human cultures requires alert and professionally competent professionals with an awareness of the need for life-long learning.
Interdisciplinary support is of paramount importance if the African Renaissance in respect of the healthcare dimension is to be achieved. There is no place for interdisciplinary rivalry. Only cooperative effort will bring meaningful results. Skills in developing professional and community collaboration are of primary importance and intellectual development is fundamental to achieve this goal. University education focuses on this characteristic. Health sciences education at university level and specifically at post-registration level is essential.
The Department of Health Studies: overview
In 1975, the Department of Nursing Science, now the Department of Health Studies, was established under the leadership of Professor Charlotte Searle. The aim was to meet the need of thousands of nurses for post-registration distance education at University level. As many nurses could not meet the costs of traditional university education nor could they cope with the difficulties of attending a residential university.
During the past 26 years, distance education for nurses and other health professionals developed into strengthening the health professions. Today it is a powerful means of education for the health professions.
Healthcare problems within Africa demand concerted efforts in re-evaluation of systems and methods for effective education of health professionals. Acceptance of changing philosophies and methods of providing health care is essential. So is the concentration on appropriate research. The Department of Health Studies is prepared for the challenge of equiping its students with research skills and expertise to assist in reaching global health needs.