Effectively addressing the health needs of South Africa’s population: The role of health professions education in the 21st century

Barend Bernardus van Heerden


The causes of the poor health status of the South African population are probably multifactorial, but to be socially accountable we must ensure that the education and training of health professionals continue to be aligned with the population’s health needs.
The authors of a seminal report published in the Lancet in 2010 provide guidelines for the future training of health professionals. Since November 2010, this report, together with other guiding publications, informed a series of strategic initiatives undertaken by the Undergraduate Education and Training subcommittee of the Medical and Dental Professions Board of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). These initiatives seek to ensure alignment of the training of health professionals in South Africa (SA) with the health needs of the population and with international educational norms and standards. These initiatives are described and the role of the HPCSA in guiding the education and training of SA’s health professionals is explored.

Author's affiliations

Barend Bernardus van Heerden, Centre for Health Professions Education, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University

Full Text



Health Professions Education; Medical Education

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2013;103(1):21-22. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.6463

Article History

Date submitted: 2012-11-01
Date published: 2012-11-22

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