Academics appeal to State; ‘help us train where the needs are’.

Chris Bateman


With many medical schools boldly piloting on-site clinical training in vastly underserved rural areas, the top generalist educators among South Africa’s eight medical campuses last month agreed to urgently petition government for expanded rural teaching platforms.

Over 46% of the country’s population lives in rural areas where just 2.9% of local medical graduates end up annually, the massive unmet service delivery crying out for government intervention – and the academics want to suggest pragmatic solutions. The group, consisting of top rural health training advocates at the universities of the Witwatersrand, Pretoria, Western Cape, Stellenbosch, Cape Town and Walter Sisulu University (Mthatha), held a rural clinical schools workshop at UCT’s Sports Science Academy on 23 June this year. Facilitated by Benguela Health, it followed an Atlantic Philanthropies-funded tour to South Eastern Australia (Gippsland and Victoria) by several participants to observe best practice in expanding rural health training facilities.

The timing of the workshop petition, to be presented to the South African Committee of Deans this October, after which a compelling best-evidence set of recommendations for increased rural clinical schools support will go to the Health and Higher Education ministries, could not be better. Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi is diligently setting up new district maternal and child health care teams, having publicly vowed to triple the country’s 1 200 annual MB ChB graduate output in order to make some dent in the apparently intractable human resource (HR) crisis.

Author's affiliations

Chris Bateman, HMPG

Full Text



Rural clinical schools, needs-based training

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2011;101(8):496, 498, 500.

Article History

Date submitted: 2011-07-04
Date published: 2011-07-25

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