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The Limpopo government's drive to address shortages of health professionals in the province has been taken a step forward.

About 35 students chosen from various districts in the province will jet off to Cuba next Monday to study medicine there and thereafter return to serve in the provinces hospitals, clinics and health centres.

The students have been awarded bursaries to experience what has been termed "one of the best learning oases in the world", as part of the agreement between South Africa and the Cuban government.

Collaboration between the two countries in this way began in 1996 when Cuban doctors arrived in the country to alleviate the shortage of doctors in the rural South Africa.

A total of 430 medical students from this country are either training as medical or electro-medical students there.

In July, the national Department of Health welcomed the second group of South African medical doctors who completed their studies there.

The Limpopo government also sent a total of 43 students to Cuba last year, spending at least R39 866 per year per student.

MEC for health and social development Seaparo Sekoati said the province was doing all it could to address the shortage of health professionals in the province. Among others, the province has invited medical doctors from Cuba, Iran and the United Nations (UN).

He said the province was currently funding medical training for students through the National Human Resources Development Plan announced in April.

Spokesperson Phuthi Seloba told BuaNews they were also providing bursaries for students willing to study medicine in South Africa.

"To receive first priority, students should have a good grasp of maths and science," Mr Seloba said.

He added that students whose families earned less than R6 000 a month were also prioritized to receive the bursary.

"There are about 500 doctors in Limpopo and in terms of the doctor-people ratio we need to have about 6 000 doctors," Mr Seloba said.




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