The University of Pretoria (UP) was privileged to host a joint conference with The Network: Towards Unity for Health (The Network: TUFH) and the South African Association of Health Educationalists (SAAHE) from 12 to 16 September this year. The conference was attended by more than 450 delegates from more than 40 countries all over the world who represented a wide range of health professions, health educationalists and health care service providers. Also present was a large cohort of students who acted as presenters and volunteer assistants.
The theme of the conference was Education for Change, and the focus was on learning as a health and development intervention. In keeping with the theme and in the context of community orientated primary care (COPC), the conference offered delegates a unique opportunity to become part of a travelling learning community that visited many sites in and around Tshwane, Johannesburg and surrounding areas and to experience the South Africa’s rainbow nation first hand. Traveling in luxury buses, delegates could choose from different destinations, one of which was Pretoria’s inner city where they came face to face with some of the stark realities encountered by COPC health workers. Other destinations afforded delegates a chance to get a closer look at a variety of community health projects that are currently underway in various townships and clinics in the area.
Since all buses were equipped with sound systems, delegates became a ‘learning team’ on a journey of learning, discovery and experience en route to their destinations. ‘Buscussions’ and ‘businars’ kicked off the moment the wheels started rolling. On reaching their destination, delegates joined local communities and health care workers, which enriched their learning experience even more.
Prof Dianne Manning, Deputy Dean: Teaching and Learning in UP’s Faculty of Health Sciences, was the conference convenor and says: ‘It was a privilege to host the 32nd meeting of The Network: Towards Unity for Health jointly with the 8th National Conference of the South African Association of Health Educationalists. We were excited by the varied and engaging conference sessions, but even more so by the dynamic “conference on the move” which created opportunities for us to deepen our interactions with fellow participants and provide new insights into changing health outcomes through improving the education of health professionals.’
 The Network: TUFH is a global network of individuals, institutions and organisations committed to improving the health of people and their communities. The Network: TUFH promotes collaboration among health and community stakeholders, such as health professionals, health managers, policy makers and communities themselves, but also with other sectors of society such as business, education, government and grassroots organisations.
 SAAHE is an association of health sciences educators from South African universities, NGOs, government and the private sector. The focus of SAAHE is on improving the quality of teaching and learning in health sciences education so as to enhance the delivery of high quality, affordable and sustainable health care to South Africans in both the public and the private sector.