MoHSS sponsors Namibians to study medicine

15 Oct 2013 19:20pm
WINDHOEK, 15 OCT (NAMPA) – The first group of 236 medical students will leave this week for Russia, Moscow to study medicine, pharmacy, dentistry and medical engineering as part of a Government initiative to address staff shortages in the health sector.
Speaking during the launch of the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS)’s scholarship programme for medicine and health-related studies for 2013 on Tuesday, Health Minister Dr Richard Kamwi called on the students to refrain from sexual relationships and to study hard.
“We do not expect anything less from you – just pass. The situation here is grave and we need you. You are not going there to make babies. Instead you must go and study hard and come back and serve the nation with pride,” he stressed.
According to Kamwi, this initiative is one of the Health Ministry’s breakthroughs, as the health sector is faced with a critical shortage of skilled personnel, including medical experts to operate equipment in health facilities in Namibia.
In Namibia, local General Practitioners fill about 30 per cent of the medical workforce, with 70 per cent being expatriates.
He raised the concern that after 23 years of independence, Namibia has not had institutions or the capacity to train specialised medical fields.
The University of Namibia (Unam)'s School of Medicine is only five years old, and would only produce graduates after two years.
“Cabinet agreed that you should be our babies. We will take care of your allowances, trip expenses and accommodation. You do not need to ask any pocket money from your parents - Government will take care of that,” he stressed.
The students are not obliged to pay back the financial costs incurred during their seven years of study, but instead should come and work at any health centre in the country.
The students, who are from all corners of the country, will study at the Moscow State University, and is expected to finalise their studies in 2020.