Dr Takalani Tshitangano, Dr Jabu Mabunda, Dr Ntsieni Mashau, Ms Shonisani Tshivhase and Mr Bumani Manganye from the University of Venda (Univen) in the Department of Public Health, School of Health Sciences visited VIVES University College, Belgium from 4 – 16 March 2018. The reason for their visit was to sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to strengthen the capacity of Community Health Workers (CHWs) through the use of Communities of Practice (CoP) strategy.


Joris Hindryckx (Left), Rector VIVES with Dr Takalani Tshitangano (right), HoD Public Health and her team at the back after signing the Memorandum of Understanding

The signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), by VIVES Rector Joris Hindryckx was witnessed by the Vice Rector, Patricia Waeniers, in the presence of Univen team. The team also attended a lecture titled ‘Introduction to health system in Belgium’ at the VIVES campus in Brugge. It came out clearly that the health system in Belgium has adopted a social security system, which covers all the citizens on a 60/40 or 0% basis depending on individual social status. The private and public health services are integrated.

The Department of Public Health, Univen and VIVES University College have the CoP strategy that focuses on sharing knowledge and good practices among people in the same field (in this case CHWs). The Univen Department of Public Health lecturers act as process guides, whereas CHWs from Nweli, Mbahe and Malavuwe villages are the learning teams. This project was funded by Flemish government and it will run for 2 years until end of 2018. The visit was also part of the capacity building for staff development component of the project.


Dr Takalani Tshitangano, Dr Jabu Mabunda, Ms Shonisani Tshivhase, Dr Ntsieni Mashau, Mr Bumani Manganye and VIVES colleagues posing for a photo after attending the lecture

The team visited Antwerp Institute of Tropical Diseases, Antwerp. They worked on the M and E of the COP project under the guidance of Josefine and Jerome (Researchers at Antwerp Institute of Tropical Diseases). The outcomes of this activity was the main success factors of the project and activities on how to achieve them.


Univen delegates at a technology care room

The team had several guided tours around VIVES Brugge campus where they visited a technology care room, which is a sample of user-friendly technology for elderly people with dementia, physical disability who are staying alone. On the same tour the team also visited the campus library, where they were shown games archive for different age groups, which is also open for public rentals.

Univen delegates pose for a photo with Psychiatric Hospital staff members

The team visited a psychiatric hospital together with the South Intensive Programme (SIP) student exchange. They have learnt that hospitals in Belgium are in a process of reducing the number of beds in favour of home care. The team has also learned that there are patients who go to this psychiatric hospital to sleep, in the mornings, they wake up and go to work. There are also day care for patients who come on daily basis for therapy and psychiatrist consultation.

Univen team posing for a photo at the Rustenburg Psychiatric Institution

Accompanied by two VIVES lecturers, the team went to Rustenburg Psychiatric Institution, where a dialogue workshop, sharing a South African versus Belgian perspective of psychiatric services was conducted. From 12 – 16 March 2018, Univen delegates participated in VIVES International week where other collaborators from China, Finland, Portugal, Ukraine, Tanzania, and South Africa were in attendance. There were parallel presentation sessions in Dutch and English where the Univen team participated as presenters and panel members. The delegation benefited immensely from the visit and they have learnt new techniques in the field of health care.

In continuation of the collaboration between the two universities, UNIVEN will receive 18 staff and students on exchange programme from VIVES University College, Belgium in September 2018.

Issued by:
Department of Communications & Marketing
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525
Date: 09 April 2018