The Partnership in Education Training and Research Advancement (PETRA) programme led by the College of Health Sciences, University of Zimbabwe has done the University of Zimbabwe and the nation proud by winning a whooping US$3 million research grant. Awarded by the Forgarty International Centre of the United States Institutes of Health, the grant seeks to capacitate training in health professions education and research strengthening at the UZ College of Health Sciences under the Novel Education Clinical Trainees and Researchers (NECTAR) and Promoting Excellence in Research and Enhanced Career Training (PERFECT) programmes.
PETRA is a consortium of four Zimbabwean universities collaborating with two United States universities. The Zimbabwe Consortium members are the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences (UZCHS), National University of Science and Technology (NUST Faculty of Medicine), Midlands State University (MSU Faculty of Medicine) and Africa University (AU Department of Health Sciences). The American universities are University of Colorado Denver and Stanford University.
The goal of PETRA is to promote two thematic areas, namely, Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practices (IPE/CP) and Dissemination and Implementation Science research (DIS). IPE/CP will be implemented through several capacity building programmes, ICT innovations and demonstration projects in various student forums and specialized patient care settings. DIS will include workshops and support of interdisciplinary projects for postgraduate students especially in the area of HIV/AIDS.
The UZCHS will lead the PETRA Consortium in the implementation of the programme (PETRA) activities at the Zimbabwean Consortium institutions. The American Universities will provide technical expertise in the thematic areas and evaluation capacity for all the programmes.
The PETRA programme expects that by the end of the 5 years of the grant, all the institutions will have developed and integrated IPE/CP and DIS programmes into their curricula. This will ultimately improve healthcare and patient outcomes throughout Zimbabwe.