Taking Pharmacy Forward


The Pharmacy sub-component of MEPI’s ECI is geared towards increasing the competency of pharmacy students in managing HIV/AIDS through enhancing their undergraduate training by curriculum infusion, improved clinical preceptorship and developing a programme to retain qualified academic and research staff by providing a career pathway and research support. These include:

Capacity Building

Team-Based Learning

Implemented as a pilot in certain modules in January 2014, aspects of the Pharmaceutical Science’s new curriculum is based on Team-Based Learning (TBL) and themes following approval from UKZN and the South African Pharmacy Council.

Technology in Learning

MEPI’s Pharmacy component is taking full advantage of the numerous benefits the digital age brings to the learning environment, for example:

  • An online AIDS learning module has been implemented and evaluated and colleagues in Physiotherapy have           expressed interest in this module.
  • An online preceptorship programme developed for Hospital Ward Round has been revised and updated
  • Pharmaceutical and medicinal online Chemistry tutorials have been integrated into current modules and form part of our new curriculum.

New teaching methods

In 2011 there were visits to Pharmaceutical Industry facilities and video interviews with the onsite Pharmacists in order to bridge the gap for Pharmaceutical manufacturing in the curriculum as there is very little manufacturing done in KwaZulu-Natal.

These videos are now being used as part of the content development for the video game "how to make medicines" in 2015.


The Dual Qualification Program

Enrichment Program for MBChB Research Track

The primary aim of a dual degree program is to address the paucity of clinician scientists in SA, through early intervention in the MBCHB curriculum and to retain these bright minds within the academic sector. The second aim is to fast-track the MBChB graduates into academic trajectories prior to being subsumed by the clinical environment. This research track will enable a graduate to complete both an MBChB and Masters degrees and equip students with skills and competencies fit for a Clinician Scientist.

Criteria for dual track acceptance:

Students accepted into this program are evaluated on their academic achievement following year 1 and selection is in line with the UKZN transformation policy.

The success of the pilot phase has resulted in the program being fully implemented from  2016.



A focus on HIV/AIDS has been infused into all parts of the curriculum so as to prevent students from looking at this in a vertical fashion but accepting it as part of chronic treatment of patients. The standalone Aids Online International has been incorporated into Pharmaceutical Microbiology, while still keeping the public health focus.

Aspects of molecule structure are incorporated into 2nd year Chemistry modules and formulation development challenges are part of the Pharmaceutics modules. Pharmacy Practice has specific sections on anti-retroviral medicine adverse effects and ethics of treating HIV patients. Finally, in the video game students will be presented with a random selection of a case on developing an anti-retroviral medicine.


Communities of Practice

The Research Leader of Pharmacy has been selected to be a member of the Gaming Strategic Group at UKZN (from the Teaching and Learning Office). The group will research the acceptance of games as an educational tool by students as well as best practices/principles for game development for educational purposes.


WHO Collaborating Centre Status

Via Professor Fatima Suleman, the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences has applied to the World Health Organisation for Collaborating Centre Status. This will allow, amongst other things, our MEPI component to strengthen conceptual innovation in the area of curriculum and pedagogy in pharmaceutical sciences and to undertake joint activities on topics of interest to both WHO and UKZN. 

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