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Poor governance, interference cause specialist doctors shortage

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Poor governance and political interference are some of the main challenges leading to South Africa having a shortage of specialist doctors. Many of the professionals opt to work outside the country.

This is according to the African United Business Confederation Health Committee and the South African Medical Association.

Rural provinces such as North West are the worst affected. Confederation Chairperson, Angelique Coetzee explains.

“Last year, 21 000 specialist medical positions were vacant across all nine provinces and there are multiple reasons why we see this but the critical shortage was created by incompetence as well as poor governance from the various provincial departments of health and there is an unwillingness to address these serious concerns. Provinces must make sure that there is not political interference in the daily workings of these doctors and specialists.”

The North West department of health says getting specialist doctors has proven to be no easy task. Departmental spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane says it’s unlikely for specialist doctors to work in rural areas.

“Doctors who are specialising are few in the country and if they are few it means they weight their options. A rural province like the North West, they will always say, “Is it best for me to be in Sandton, working in a nice environment or should I go to a rural area?” so most of the time, they will choose not to go to the rural areas and that is why when we train, we recruit learners from historically disadvantaged rural areas with the thinking that when they come back they will remember that, “I left a gap back home where I come from, I need to go and work there.”

Source: SABC News

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