Transformative Education
for Health Professionals

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Novel Education Clinical Trainees & Researchers (NECTAR)

Prof James Hakim, Prof Michele Barry, Prof Thomas Campbell, Prof Jonathan Matenga, Prof Ed Havranek, Dr Melanie Abas, Dr Frances Cowan, Dr Sekai Nhiwa

NECTAR is the programmatic award of the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) funding to the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences (UZCHS) to improve medical education. The programme runs for 5 years and starting from September 2010 to 2015.

The UZCHS through NECTAR is one of the 13 sub-Saharan Africa medical schools, beneficiaries of the USA National Institutes of Health (Fogarty International Centre)/PEPFAR sponsored awards. The UZCHS programmes have been developed in conjunction with the University of Colorado, Denver; University of Stanford; University College London; Institute of Psychiatry-King’s College, London and the University of Cape Town


Full project description: 

The initiatives that will be implemented in this programme will address the challenges that have affected the UZCHS especially in the past 10 years; such as variable and resource-driven student enrolment at the college, emigration of faculty to greener pastures and the private sector, limited research capacity and poor infrastructure including internet facility.

The ultimate goal of the NECTAR programme in collaboration with and its partners is to improve medical education, and research capacity at the UZCHS with the ultimate aim of improving health care delivery in Zimbabwe. The programme has been implementing five MEPI key themes in order to deliver on the ultimate goal of improving health care delivery i.e.

  1. Increase the quantity and quality of health care workers trained
  2. Retention of the health care workers trained
  3. Enhance research capacity development
  4. Communities of practice
  5. Sustainability

In order to achieve the broader objective and the specific aims NECTAR activities are implemented in four main areas:

  1. Mentored Clinical Research Scholars Program

The key elements of the MCSP include the engagement of students and post graduates as educators in clinical settings, and the use of modern educational technologies with the aim of the and promotion of life-long learning and self-appraisal skills.

This also involves implementation of a core curriculum in teaching and curriculum development through training of scholars in:

  • Information assessment and critical thinking
  • Conducting literature reviews
  • Publication of scholarly papers on clinical and educational topics,
  • Teaching skills such as Team-Based Learning techniques, small group discussion, teaching in the clinical setting, curriculum evaluation and learner assessment.
  1. Research Capacity Buidling
  1. Mentored Research Scholars Program

The key activities of the MRSP are:

  • Multi-partner mentoring to develop research skills through mentoring triangles.
  • Classroom based research methodologies in epidemiology, biostatistics and clinical trials.
  • Research project development
  • Training in the responsible conduct of research
  1. Research and grants management training
  • Facilitate research and grants management training workshops
  • Nominate young faculty to attend regional & international conferences on research and grants management
  • Attachment of local staff to international institutions/partners to study advanced research and grants management systems
  1. Faculty Development

Faculty Development key activities being undertaken include:

  • Enhancement of the existing UZCHS medical curriculum in the PEPFAR priority areas through:
  • Implementation of a modular HIV&AIDS curriculum for MMeds
  • Development and implementation of a competency based curriculum.
  • Engagement of students in Zimbabwean health priorities
  • Transformation of the UZCHS academic environment through:
  • Establishment of a Research Support Centre
  • Visiting Professors/Lecturers Program
  • Establishment of the Health Professions Education department
  • Introduction of a certified course in medical education (HEALZ)
  • Partnership with FAIMER Institute (Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research) – 4 faculty members completed training medical education
  1. Field attachment

The rural attachment program complements the already existing rural attachment program structures within the UZCHS and involves the following major activities:

  • Training of District Medical Officers in mentorship and supervision of students and postgraduates
  • Procurement of vehicles to support transportation of students to the sites.
  • Renovations of two pilot sites
  • Internet connection & e-health
  • Establishing monitoring & evaluation systems
  1. Linked Awards CHRIS & IMHERZ
  • Mentorship & Training in specialty areas; cardiology and mental health 



NECTAR programmmes are implemented at the UZCHS targeting undergraduates, postgraduates and faculty. These groups are the immediate beneficiaries of the programme.



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