SWITCH: Strengthening the Workforce to Improve Treatment and Care for HIV


University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), as a previous Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) institution, is one of the twenty institutions in fourteen African countries selected to participate in “Strengthening Inter-Professional Education to Improve HIV Care across Africa (STRIPE)” project managed by University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) with support from President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through HRSA.

UKZN named their project “Strengthening the Workforce to Improve Treatment and Care for HIV (SWITCH).” UKZN also includes “Flattening the Hierarchy” with patient-centered approach as the main focus of the project.

The project has a strategy that included the following:

  • Reviewing of the STRIPE HIV modules developed by UCSF and choosing 11 of the 17 to include in the UKZN intensive training while 2 excluded modules were used as examples of in the Introductory training.
  • Developing a training of the trainer workshop for facilitators of the modules to cover the core concepts of Interprofessional education (IPE), continuous quality improvement (CQI), team-based learning and small group facilitation.
    • Feedback from facilitators was positive with an 86% overall satisfaction rate and the content of the training and STRIPE HIV Modules were seen to be very relevant
    • An interprofessional group of facilitators was chosen and paired with one other person so that they would bring different perspectives to the module
  • Scheduling an introductory session for all the medicine, nursing and pharmacy students to give them an overview of SWITCH prior to encouraging them to sign up for the 2 day intensive training.
    • Feedback from the students was positive: they were interested to learn about the principles of IPE and CQI and would have appreciated a resource at the end which outlined the principles, the sessions were very interesting but they would have preferred more time allocated to the session, they would have liked to have been in Interprofessional groups for the introductory session.
  • A 2 day intensive training for students which prepares them for practice was held on the 11th – 12th October 2019
  • These set of activities has also been held at the SMU site.

The following activities will need to be undertaken prior to the end of the project in March 2020:

  • A second set of introductory and intensive training for final year medical, nursing and pharmacy students early in 2020
  • Training at 3 decentralised sites: 2 in KZN (Amajuba and iLembe districts) and 1 in Pretoria (Jubilee district hospital). The training at these sites will be for interns and community service health professionals with a short course of mentoring so that the skills can be used to implement a QI project within the health facility in which they work.