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South Africa: MEC Magome Masike on Importance of South Africa-Cuba Medical Programme
Source: Issued by: North West Health
Source Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: South Africa
Created: Oct 22, 2013

“We believe the challenges before us is huge, the disease profile is concerning and the ever increasing shortage for health professionals particularly in rural areas need to be addressed. By increasing the number of the 2013 intake, we are demonstrating our seriousness in addressing this shortage in future,” said Masike.

One of the bursary recipients Kesaobaka Mothudi (19) from Ntsweletsoku, thanked the department of health for affording him such a great opportunity to study medicine in Cuba.

“I have always wanted to be a medical doctor and I want to thank the department of health in the North West for giving us a once in a lifetime opportunity to do what we have always dreamed of. It’s a dream come true for me, and I am going to do my best to and I am intending to come back home after completing my studies in Cuba and serve my the people of the North West province”

Tlotlego Selemogo (19) from Huhudi Township in Vryburg also thanked the department, her teachers back in high school and community of Huhudi for raising her and for the guidance.

“I am here because of the guidance from my parents, community of Huhudi and my educators. Being here as one of the young people who received the bursary to pursue medicine in Cuban it’s a dream come true for me. Leaving my beloved country for Cuba it is a first step of my journey.

I know there are challenges ahead, but we will overcome them. I want to assure people of the North West province that I will do my best as I will be representing the province in Cuba and I will not disappoint them,” said Selemogo

Currently the province has 72 medical students from poor backgrounds who successfully completed their medical studies and are now serving their communities since inception of this programme in 1995.

The recruitment process of 180 students, who departs for Cuba this month, was highly competitive. Candidates were selected on the basis of academic excellence and commitment to serve the poorest communities upon completion of their studies.

Bursary recipients had undergone a week long orientation at health facilities to familiarise themselves with medical practice and to get perspective of Cuba from those who studied medicine in Cuba. Other criteria included a history of active involvement in their communities, and the potential to be a dedicated and caring doctor.

Priority was given to students from disadvantaged communities. The bursaries awarded to the students will cover the costs of books, accommodation and tuition. In his farewell message, Masike urged these young aspirant doctors to conduct themselves in a way that shows commitment to the programme.

“Once you have decided to enrol in this programme, it means you must be willing to sacrifice some of the things you are used to. You are going into a foreign environment and your ability to adapt quickly will serve you well. You must see this opportunity as an investment of your time and energy and understand that there will be time to reap the reward. It is common knowledge that we all reap what we sow,” concluded MEC Masike.
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