R2.4 million boost for medical students to help them stay online
JOHANNESBURG – The Covid-19 pandemic is likely to continue until the end of next year, crippling the health system and South Africa’s economy.
The crisis has brought to the fore the urgent need for investment in the future: In the short-term, that requires giving disadvantaged health sciences students much-needed resources so they are able to complete their studies and enter the healthcare system.
Aspen Pharmacare has announced a donation of 600 tablets valued at R2.4-million to assist students from the Health Sciences Faculty at the University of Pretoria.
The devices were earmarked for selected registered Faculty of Health Sciences students only: Those who attend classes regularly and who are unable to buy their own devices.
Stavros Nicolaou, the Aspen Pharmacare Group's senior executive for strategic trade development, says without urgent assistance, the university’s medical and health sciences curriculum would have ground to a halt, with almost no graduates this year. And it would have affected future intakes of students.
“During this crisis, we can’t risk not having doctors going out into the system,” Nicolaou says. “Without the donation, the first-year student intake would also have been affected and disadvantaged students would be the worst affected. There’s a human face to this and there’s a lot of pressure from their families so not qualifying would shatter their dreams. And it would hold back the health system and the economy, since Covid-19 is expected to be around for the next 18 months.”
Giving students these devices not only helps to ensure that they have continued access to online education, but also limits their need for travel, he says, thereby enabling them to do as much work as possible, remotely.
“We are deeply committed to supporting the sectors and communities in which we operate, both during the current crisis, and in the longer term, as we assist to create sustainable communities in South Africa.”
Nicolaou says Aspen’s CSI philosophy is centred on building sustainable communities in areas where they do businesses, which is why they also form business partnerships with key stakeholders such as doctors, pharmacists and nurses.
“Tukkies were first out the blocks but we have other partnerships with Wits, UCT and UKZN.”