More doctors for Madwaleni

After struggling with only one doctor for six months, Madwaleni Hospital now has six doctors.

The hospital serves approximately 120 000 people in rural Eastern Cape.

The severe staff shortages at the hospital have often made the news, but now AHP has some good news to share.

Two Dutch doctors joined the hospital in December. Between June and December 2012, there was only one doctor, also from Holland, working at Madwaleni.

Three community service doctors have also been allocated to the hospital by the Eastern Cape Department of Health.

A US paediatrician has arrived in South Africa and will join the hospital later in February. A UK doctor will arrive in May. Her sister will be coming with to volunteer and provide home-based care.

AHP’s recruitment consultant for the hospital, Stacey Pillay, is very excited about the developments at Madwaleni.

“More doctors mean better healthcare for all. I am very happy that, together with the Eastern Cape Department of Health and the Health Professions’ Council of South Africa, we were able to get more doctors for Madwaleni. It shows how much South Africa needs foreign-qualified doctors. We also need to work harder to attract more local doctors to rural areas.” 

AHP, a social profit donor-funded organisation has, since 2005, sourced, recruited and placed 2 500 local and foreign-qualified healthcare professionals in the country’s public healthcare facilities in rural and underserved areas.

Madwaleni illustrates the vital role of foreign-qualified doctors in South Africa’s rural areas. Many hospitals rely completely on foreign-qualified doctors.

Recruiting foreign-qualified doctors should not be seen as a short-term solution. Foreign-qualified doctors can aid hospitals in becoming self-sustainable. AHP has developed a recruitment model to assist healthcare facilities in becoming self-sustaining. Firstly, effective management has to be in place. Foreign-qualified health professionals, who are willing to work in rural areas, can then be recruited. Once a contingent of foreign doctors is in place, local workers can be attracted more easily. With a team of experienced doctors on board, junior doctors and trainees will follow because they have the opportunity to be properly supervised and mentored. Management can then move out of “crisis management” mode and focus on using the improved capacity to sustain its human resource contingent and improve quality of care.