AU Department of Health Sciences and PETRA Consortium win $3 million Education and Research Grant

8 March 2019
Story by
Jeanette Dadzie
OAPA Correspondent

 The Department of Health Sciences in the College of Health, Agriculture and Natural Sciences which is part of a consortium of other universities in Zimbabwe which include the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences, Midlands State University Faculty of Medicine and the National University of Science and Technology Faculty of Medicine the collectively go by the moniker PETRA, has recently won a 3-million-dollar grant for a five-year program funded by NIH/FIC (National Institutes of Health/ Fogarty International Centre). Rounding up the members of the consortium are two US based universities, the University of Colorado, Denver and Stanford University who will provide technical expertise in the thematic areas and evaluation capacity for all the programmes.

PETRA focuses on two thematic areas, Inter- professional Education and Collaborative Practice as well as dissemination and implementation of science research. The programme will run from 2018-2023 and will build on the foundation of training in health professions, education and research capacity strengthening established at the UZCHS (The University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences) under the NECTAR (Novel Education Clinical Trainees and Researchers) and PERFECT (Promoting Excellence in Research and Faculty Enhanced Career Training) Programmes funded by NIH/FIC.

By the end of the 5 years of the grant, the institutions will have developed and integrated models of IPE/CP (Inter-professional Education/Collaborative Practice) and DIS (Dissemination and Implementation Science) programmes into their respective curricula which will ultimately improve healthcare and patient outcomes throughout health care facilities in Zimbabwe.

The specific aims of the program are to develop new inter-professional education and collaborative practice curricula, with an emphasis on PEPFAR health priority areas and other public health needs for Zimbabwe. To implement innovative inter-professional health education initiatives to improve services and retention of health professionals. Create new inter-professional research capacity and harness Information Communication Technology (ICT) to promote a vibrant research culture among all levels of students and faculty and to strengthen Academic Leadership in Inter-Professional Education and Collaborative Practice.

Inter- institutional collaborations are at the core of the research and academic culture of Africa University which it strongly believes facilitate collective success and allow a platform through which a multiplicity of perspectives spark innovation and creativity to problem solving and in research which is integral to tackling the challenges facing our continent.