More medical schools coming, says Motsoaledi

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South Africa has a critical shortage of doctors. The country’s eight medical schools produce between 1,100 and 1,300 new doctors annually, but experts say about 3,000 new doctors are needed each year.

According to a Sunday Times report, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said one of the ways of increasing the number of doctors was by building more medical schools. Limpopo will get another medical school in addition to the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, and plans are at an advanced stage to rebuild the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine.

First-year enrolment of white medical students this year at the UKZN was capped at 2%. The university said it received more than 8300 applications for its 250 first-year places. Its quotas for other race groups are 69% African, 19% Indian, 9% coloured and 1% other nationalities. University spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said the quota system applied only to its MBChB programme.

The vice-chancellor of Wits, Professor Adam Habib, said its new admission process for medicine was starting to meet the objectives the university set for this year. “We were not able to fill every single one of our rural and urban quintile one and two places as some students did not meet the cut-off. Nevertheless, a large number of places were actually filled by those students.”

First-year medical student enrolment at other medical schools this year included:

University of Pretoria: 238, including 133 from previously disadvantaged groups and 105 white students. A further 62 places will be filled in mid-year from top performers enrolled for the BSc degree in biological sciences;

University of the Witwatersrand: 229, including 97 African, 17 coloured, 50 Indian, 63 white and two Chinese;

Stellenbosch: 235, including 91 white, 65 coloured, 27 Indian and 52 African;

Walter Sisulu University: 126, including five white, two coloured, 14 Indian and 105 African; and

University of Cape Town: 220, including 77 African, 49 coloured, four Chinese, 24 Indian and 66 white.

Full Sunday Times report

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