Appropriate medical education.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: Medical education (Usage)
Medical personnel (Services)
Public sector (Analysis)
Pub Date: 01/01/2011
Publication: Name: South African Medical Journal Publisher: South African Medical Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 South African Medical Association ISSN: 0256-9574
Issue: Date: Jan, 2011 Source Volume: 101 Source Issue: 1
Topic: Event Code: 360 Services information
Product: Product Code: 8010000 Medical Personnel NAICS Code: 62 Health Care and Social Assistance
Geographic: Geographic Scope: South Africa Geographic Code: 6SOUT South Africa
Accession Number: 262037380
Full Text: Educational factors that determine whether South Africa trains its doctors adequately are considered in two papers (5,6) and an accompanying editorial. (7)

There is a serious overall lack of health care professionals in South Africa, with a shortage of about 80 000 in the public sector. There is maldistribution of the health workforce between the private and public sectors and between urban and rural areas. South Africa must train more health professionals, improve the retention of health care personnel, improve doctor-to-population ratios in public health care facilities, and distribute doctors better so as to address the health care needs of marginalised communities.

Medical schools can assist in addressing these needs. Firstly it is appropriate that applicants of rural origin be prioritised for admission to health science faculties since they are more likely to return to rural practice. The principles of the primary health care-based approach to the delivery of health care at all levels should form the foundation of health sciences curricula. The likelihood of choosing a rural career appears to increase when medical students are introduced to rural clinical practice through longitudinal placements for a year or more. Since 'assessment drives learning', primary health care needs should be emphasised by integration in the assessment processes.
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