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Study grants agreement signed between SU and global pharmaceutical company

An agreement that will lead to study grants offered to postgraduate medical students throughout Africa to complete a Master's Degree in Clinical Epidemiology, was recently signed between Novartis, a global pharmaceutical company, and Stellenbosch University (SU) Faculty of Health Sciences.

Clinical epidemiology improves patient care by providing scientifically valid answers to questions about diagnosis, prevention, therapy, prognosis and aetiology. SU Faculty of Health Sciences offers a MSc Programme in Clinical Epidemiology, with an emphasis on evidence-based medicine, which provides health professionals with the necessary skills to generate and apply reliable, up-to-date evidence in clinical practice.

The study grants will be offered to 30 candidates who have completed an MB, ChB or equivalent degree or at least a four year professional Bachelor's degree in a health related disciplines. The intake of 10 students per year will comprise six South African citizens and four citizens from other African countries, and will be subject to an annual review. In addition to the study grants, Novartis will also sponsor a Clinical Epidemiology Week, which will be an annual event in conjunction with the university.

SU Faculty of Health Sciences has already established an international reputation for its work in medical research. As Prof Jimmy Volmink, the Faculty Deputy Dean Research, points out: "Stellenbosch University is already playing a significant role in addressing some of the major social, economic and health challenges facing our country and the African region. We believe the support from Novartis for our capacity building initiatives in clinical epidemiology will go a long way in furthering these goals."

Photo: Prof Jimmy Volmink (Faculty Deputy Dean: Research) and Mr Glen Sullivan (CEO Novartis SA) signs the agreement while Mr Patrice Matchaba (Novartis Global Head of Drug Safety and Epidemiology) is looking on.

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