POLOKWANE – The decline of medical graduates in Limpopo is a source of grave concern, says the Democratic Alliance.
According to a statement by the DA a reply to the Democratic Alliance parliamentary question shows that the number of doctors qualifying in Limpopo (at the University of Limpopo) fell between 2004 and 2008, from 238 to 150, despite the province’s urgent need for more doctors.
According to the DA the proposed solutions that the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, offered in reply were totally inadequate.
The most obvious solution is to bring in the private health sector to assist. South Africa’s private health care industry is large and vibrant and is very willing to be involved more constructively in solving the problems faced by the public health sector. However, the state-centred ideology of the ANC government, and this minister in particular, appears to automatically exclude this option.
Research shows that medical staff tend to remain and practice in the areas where they live and study. The lack of availability of doctors is compounded by the fact that 17% of doctors leave South Africa after they have qualified.
At other universities throughout the country the number of medical graduates have not shown such drastic changes between 2004 and 2008. At UCT, KwaZulu Natal and Stellenbosch the numbers have shown slight increases and at Witwatersrand there has been a slight decline.