About MEPI

The Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) project at UKZN is a competitive grant awarded by the United States Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), to 13 partnering African universities and is aimed at improving health care education, research and training capacity at medical institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is active 2010-2016.

The key drivers of the programme are to address the shortage of compe-tent doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals to manage HIV/AIDS in KwaZulu-Natal. The strategy is also aimed at improving the quality of medical education and research at undergraduate level to ensure that medical graduates emerge from UKZN with scientifically sound research skills needed, especially for a country with a quadruple burden of disease. Of significance is that the MEPI programme improves capacity and skills in preparation for the new National Health Insurance (NHI) plan being rolled out in phases over the next 14 years which would shift the health focus from a predominantly curative model to a disease prevention model using the Primary Health Care (PHC) approach.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) is the only higher education institution in the province and only one of two in South Africa to have been awarded the MEPI grant in 2010 with the following Principal Investigators leading the MEPI team:


Dr Sandy Pillay                          Director, Enhancing Care Initiative
Dr Raziya Bobat                         Associate Professor, Paediatrics and Child Health
Dr Douglas Wassenaar               Professor, School of Applied Human Sciences
Dr Jagidesa Moodley                  Professor, Women’s Health and HIV Research

The original PI was Professor Umesh Lalloo from 2010-2014.

Partnering Institutions:

Columbia University:

Dr Philip LaRussa                      Professor, Clinical Paediatrics
Dr Scott Hammer                       Professor, Medicine



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