Grant offer for matrics

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

The Mpumalanga Department of Health and Social Services has called on students wanting to study medicine in Cuba to submit applications.

The students must be younger than 25, live in the province and have matriculated with exemption.

A total of 20 students, 15 to study medicine and five medical engineering, will be selected for studies starting in October.

The initiative is part of the government's Cuban Programme that started in 1997.

It was introduced by the Department of Health, which recruits students from historically disadvantaged communities, to study medicine in Cuba.

They will study for a total of seven years in Cuba, but visit South Africa for a month's holiday every second year.

They start with a one-year bridging course in Spanish.

They then study medicine for a further five years and return for their final year for re-orientation in South Africa.

"Since the programme started, we have sent two groups, one at inception in 1997 and the last 15 students in 2002.

"Eight doctors from the first group are already working in the public service," MEC William Lubisi said.

He said the Cuban training programme was specifically relevant to rural provinces such as Mpumalanga because it focused on primary health care, which is mostly accessible to rural people.

Lubisi said the department had put in place medium- and long- term intervention mechanisms.

These, he said, included increasing the numbers of bursaries awarded to Mpumalanga students to study medicine and allied health professions.