Train SA doctors at home - MEC

By Bongani Hans Time of article published Aug 7, 2013

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Durban - Sending students to Cuba to train as doctors was an expensive exercise for KwaZulu-Natal, and the province was now considering opening more medical schools and importing Cuban lecturers.

Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo told the health portfolio committee at the provincial legislature in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday that next week he would lead a team to Angola on a mission to establish how the country managed to open medical schools with lecturers from Cuba.

“It is more convenient if students are trained at home,” he said.

South Africa first sent students to Cuba in 1995 to address the shortage of doctors.

He said if the study proved it was possible to open more medical schools in the province, his department would approach the national government for the go-ahead.

“We don’t have to build new colleges as we already have existing facilities that we can turn into medical colleges,” he said.

He said Cuba remained the best when it came to the training of doctors.

When we started the programme, the country sent 80 students to Cuba, of whom 10 were from KZN.

“About a year ago the number increased to 1 000, of whom 340 were from KZN.

“This year KZN intends to send 310 students to Cuba. Since Limpopo has a financial problem we were requested to support it by sending (paying for) 30 of its students, but with an agreement that they would first work for KZN,” he said.

* According to Angola-Today.com, the rehabilitation of Angola’s health services is one of the greatest challenges facing its government.

“Even though the political will for reform exists, current health facilities remain woefully inadequate and are inaccessible to the majority of the population,” it says.

According to the World Health Organisation, Angola has a life expectancy of 50 for men and 53 for women. The country has eight doctors per 100 000 people, one of the lowest ratios in the world.

The Mercury

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