Rural health gets boost
ELEVEN North West students who recently received Bachelor of Clinical Medical Practice degrees at the University of Witwatersrand are working at district hospitals across the province
Health Department spokesman Tebogo Lekgethwane said the graduates would become mid-level health workers specifically created to address the country's shortage of skilled health care professionals, especially in the rural areas.
"The clinical associates are trained with doctors at a medical school to work with, assist and support doctors in their duties. They are being specifically trained to work in district hospitals, especially in rural district hospitals where there are not enough doctors," he said.
Two of the graduates, both placed at the Lehurutshe-Zeerust Hospital Complex, Tshegofatso Mpolokeng and Tshegofatso Senwelo said they were honoured.
Senwelo, 21, who originates from one of the Zeerust local villages, Ntsweletsoku, was also one of the top students of this class. Amid the excitement at graduation, Senwelo said she felt proud and enthusiastic about the programme.
Project manager of the district educational campus at Lehurutshe, Abigail Dreyer, said the clinical associates have a very defined scope of practice and they were to work in the district hospitals under the supervision of a qualified medical practitioner.
"At the Lehurutshe-Zeerust Hospital Complex this is not new as the graduates were also at this site for clinical rotations during their studies," Dreyer said.
She said that in the past two years the site had been a platform to facilitate teaching and learning for the clinical associates students, medical students and even foreign students.
Lekgethwane said the clinical associates programme, the South Africa Cuba medical programme and other interventions were projected to substantially reduce the shortage of doctors and other health professionals in the long term.