South African Medical Journal

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Preparing future doctors to meet ethical challenges a training course in health and human rights for medical students

L London, G McCarthy, J van Heerden, S Wadee, N Walaza, T Winslow


Training in human rights and ethics for health professionals is a critical strategy for the prevention of torture and human rights violations. Despite South Africa's history of human rights violations under apartheid and evidence of medical involvement in such abuses, South African medical students have to date received little teaching on these issues. A pilot module was run for 4th-year medical students at the University of Cape Town in 1995 to enable students to identify circumstances under which human rights violations occur, and to understand the role that health professionals can play in combating these abuses. The fann and content of the course are described, as well as an evaluation of its short-term impact on students, convenors and other teachers. Implications of the course for medical training are discussed, particularly in the iight of the need to build a culture of human rights in South Africa.

AJOL African Journals Online