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Eligible SA healthcare interns left stranded with no medical placement for 2024

[Photo source: Bizcommunity]

Azra Hoosen |
15th January 2024 | 16:00 CAT
3 Min read

The ongoing anxiety-ridden struggle continues for South African medical interns and community service graduates, left stranded with no medical placement in public healthcare for 2024 due to the lack of available funded posts.

The Department of Health acknowledged that several healthcare professionals, including Environmental Health Practitioners, Radiotherapists and Physiotherapists, could not be placed for community service due to a shortage of funded posts in the provinces.

“This shows the inability of the government to manage the people’s healthcare system properly,” Rise Mzansi commented on a statement released by the National Department of Health last month.

National Co-ordinator of Rise Mzansi, Esther Padi, said: “This has been a continuous issue where medical students are told that they will be placed in this or that area, but a week later before their placements, they are suddenly told there is no funding. How do we have the same problem every year? How do we not have ways to intervene?
One of the biggest problems in this country is the understaffed hospitals and clinics, and yet here are students who are ready to serve the community but are left in limbo with no direction on where they are going.”

Numerous lives are put on hold as medical interns cannot complete their medical training.

“As the elections come up, we need to figure out how to step up as South Africans to start thinking about who deserves to be heading these departments. It is unfair to the medical practitioners who have endured a lot to attain their qualifications,” Padi added.

In addition to the interns, 800 post-community service doctors are without jobs.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, our government brought in doctors from Cuba and spent more than R170 million, and yet we still have the same issue now as we did then – where we have a lot of misplaced doctors. We continue to encourage students to go to school and work towards uplifting the country, but when it is time for the government to play their role, they decide otherwise,” Padi said.

Meanwhile, the DoH has stressed that the shortfalls in other areas of need, excluding medical interns and most categories of community service, are being addressed urgently.

“Looking at how the state-owned entities are currently run; the success of the National Health Insurance (NHI) system is highly limited and will go down the same drain where Eskom and Transnet are. Some systems are created for those in power to continue to loot people’s money. It will make no difference when all South Africans are contributing to an NHI fund that would bring money to the coffers of wherever it is going for the government to manage, but seeing the corrupt behaviour patterns, it is a huge risk. I doubt taking up the NHI system will get anywhere, but perhaps with credible leaders, we may see a difference,” said Padi.

A new player on the political block, Rise Mzansi, is moving forward with its mission to create a degree of accountability between public representatives and SA citizens.

Rise Mzansi’s ‘Peoples Manifesto’ will launch on 20th January 2024 in Hatfield, Pretoria.

LISTEN to the full interview with Ml. Ebrahim Moosa and Esther Padi, community activist and member of Rise Mzansi Party, here.


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