Today's Labour News

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medicaldoctorBusinessLive writes that a question mark hangs over the future of SA’s massive programme for training medical students in Cuba, which will see about 700 fifth-year students returning home in July to complete the last leg of their training.  

All of SA’s medical schools are expected to take some of the Cuba trainees.  According to Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, the programme was so large it was a headache for both countries and a decision was taken in the National Health Council to scale it back temporarily.  The programme would lapse for three years to relieve pressure on the system but would not stop entirely, he said.  "The Cuban government is not ... coping with these numbers, the provinces in their budgeting systems did not factor it very well, and it is too much for the South African universities to absorb.  It means increasing the final-year medical students by 60% at a go," Motsoaledi indicated.  The minister has promoted the programme as a way to overcome the failure of South African medical schools to produce enough doctors to meet the country’s needs.  Critics have questioned the wisdom of training doctors in a country with a different disease burden at greater cost than home-grown students.  The programme began in 1996.  


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