An international competition to find a winning design for UKZN’s new medical teaching hospital has been launched by the National Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.

Fully sponsored by the International Academy for Design and Health (IADH), Motsoaledi said the competition would save government between R300 and R500 million in design fees for hospitals around the country.

Addressing a gathering on the Howard College campus he said South Africa had during the past 20 years produced an average of 1 200 medical doctors every year ‘regardless of the demand and regardless of the quadruple burden of disease’.

Motsoaledi said the country needed world-class teaching hospitals in order to meet the Department of Healths (DoH) target of producing at least 3 600 medical doctors annually.

Construction of the new learning hospital using the winning design from the competition is expected to begin on vacant land adjoining the Howard College campus in 2014.  All UKZN Health Sciences Disciplines and King Edward VIII Central Hospital will be integrated on the new premises.

The new Limpopo Academic Hospital, the Eastern Cape’s Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital, Mpumalanga Tertiary Hospital and the Dr George Mukhari and Chris Hani Baragwanath hospitals in Gauteng will benefit from adaptations of the winning design.

Professor Alan Dilani, General Director of IADH, said the competition was being run in the spirit of Mandela Day and the winning design should reflect that.

Founded in 1997 by scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, IADH is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the stimulation and application of research concerning the interaction between design, health, science and culture.

Dilani lobbied for state-of-the-art hospitals to service the country’s public sector. He said medical doctors were the most knowledgeable people in a hospital. ‘The way you engage with them and the overall environment of the hospital will determine how doctors perform.’

Dilani said the design brief would be available on the DoH and Academy’s websites.

Professor Rob Slotow, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor for the College of Health Sciences, said the College looked forward to producing a new cadre of health care professionals, “fit-for-purpose” to deliver on the new NHI.

Slotow said the six new flagship projects would allow academic institutions to expand the health workforce equipped with knowledge skills and competencies appropriate to the country’s health context and aligned with the country’s health system.

‘As a leading Higher Educational Institution with a long tradition of producing leaders in health care provision, governance and research, we welcome this partnership. Together we can ensure capacity within a new health system based on the health contexts and needs of our province and country, and which is delivered at the highest global standards.’

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