Over 100 medical graduates in South Africa trained in Russia are sitting at home without jobs. According to a Memorandum of Demands drafted by these foreign trained doctors, last year, they tendered their applications to the Health Professions Council of South Africa and the South African government, to be formally acknowledged and invited to sit and write their board examinations in order to practice medicine in South Africa.Nomathemba Tshabalala, a medical graduate said all she wanted after retiring to South Africa last year was to be a beacon of hope for her community.
“Unfortunately, the main issue that we are experiencing was financing. We do not come from the same backgrounds. Some of us were seen as the beacon of hope in our families. Now you’re back in South Africa and your family is expecting a lot from you but you can’t give. As I am here, I am staying with my fiancé. Home is in Bethlehem. Sometimes, I need to escape that environment because I feel like I have failed them. How am I supposed to encourage a girl about the importance of education? It didn’t work for me. “ said Tshabalala
Another medical graduate, Emmanuel Mnisi said he spent 11 years studying towards becoming a doctor but today he is waiting tables at local restaurants in Johannesburg in order to support his family.
“ On a personal standpoint I have withdrawn and I’ve been anti-social. I used to have a lot of friends who I can communicate with and be a positive person. I’d rather be just keep myself in a small box and continue studying because I know that once I write this board exam, my life is going to be way much better than it is write now. My whole dream is that I will be able to work in a hospital. “he explained
Spokesperson for the graduates, Hayley Reichert believes the delay in allocating dates for the graduates to write their board exams and be placed to work in the health system is one of the reasons South Africa has a shortage of medical staff.
“ I believe that from the Departments official side, they are struggling to get a university that can accommodate these graduates to sit for the exams which are theory and practical. But the government is also seemingly struggling to get funding for this internship programme. They are taking their time and nothing is moving forward. So now you’re sitting with over 100 graduates where we have a shortage of medical staff and doctors in the country,” said Reichert
In response,the David Mametja, Health Professionals Council of South Africa Head of Department: Core Operations said the delay in accepting more foreign-trained doctors to write their board exams is due to not enough medical schools applying to be service providers.
“Way back in May we had started a supply chain management process to get a replacement service provider and we had advertised and only institution applied and even that one institution did not meet those requirements,” explained Mametja
As the lives of medical graduates continue to be in limbo, the Health body( Health Professions Council of South Africa and the South African government has be given between 14 to 21 days to give a detailed response on how they are planning to solve the ongoing grievances of these young doctors who studied in Russia.