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UJ medical students get R20m state-of-art simulation lab

Medical students at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) are going to have an easier time practising their chosen art, as the organisation has teamed up with Philips have to create a state-of-the-art medical simulation facility at the university’s Doornfontein campus. In the new lab, scenarios from the panic of the emergency room to minor procedure care can be replicated and practise before students are sent out to deal with the real thing.

“Healthcare is huge problem in South Africa, and we don’t compare well with other countries. We need to look at the structure and operational issues, and often there is insufficient time spent on clinical training,” said Prof Andre Swart, Executive Dean at the Faculty of Health Services at UJ.

Being first on the scene is hugely important

And this is where the simulation lab comes in. The facility has the ability to accurately simulate almost every step of the medical process, from being a first responder on the ground, transporting the patient and having them admitted to hospital, to doing complex tests, procedures and even pre- and postnatal care.

“We asked ourselves how we could change the training for South African nurses and emergency personnel, and we thought of changing the sustainability of the future. Simulation-based trained isn’t something new in South Africa, but the one that we have don’t provide a simulation that showed a real-world working environment.” said Prof Swart.
The ride to the hospital is crucial

The ride to the hospital is crucial

This is what makes this simulation lab so special – that you can track the progress of a single patient as it goes through the whole healthcare system – including charts, graphs and medicine records. The entire process is a clinical simulation that replicates the flow of healthcare activities of the real life but it came with a steep price tag of around R20 million.

While UJ built the facility and took care of the administration, Philips has provided all the medical equipment that the student make use of during their training. “The investment of R20 million is to provide and train the most competent healthcare practitioners in the country.” Prof Swart continued. “It’s not to replace real-world training, but to enhance the training of skills that they receive. Even though we officially opened the facility today, we have already trained nurses and doctors from 10 Africa countries on diabetes medicine in the simulation lab.”
The final tier in the simulation is hospital care

The final tier in the simulation is hospital care

Philips might be best known for their lighting solutions and consumer products, but the company’s other core focus is healthcare – incidentally, Philips brought the first x-ray tube to the market.

“Philips is really focussing on Africa, and we realised in 2011 that what we were doing wasn’t enough. We realised that we had to do a lot more in all three sectors as we have been on the continent for over 100 years,” commented Peter van de Ven, General Manager for Philips Healthcare in Africa.

“In South Africa we are very aligned to healthcare in the market, and are looking at the complete care cycle. We also have a lot of collaborations and partnerships as well as improvement projects in the future with the Department of Health. Our overall goal is to improve healthcare in SA.”

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