By Bathandwa Mbola
The Department of Health and Social Services in Mpumalanga has called on the province?s youth to apply for bursaries available in the department for the 2009 academic year.
The bursaries include careers in Medicine (MBCHB), pharmacy, radiography, physiotherapy, speech and hearing therapy, psychology, nutrition, nursing and social work.
Students in Mpumalanga who have an interest in these careers should have a matric certificate, either be entering university or completing Grade 12 and be in possession of an Identity Document.
According to the department, this is part of its efforts to create a sound and sustainable health professional?s skill base in the province.
"The awarding of these bursaries do not only benefit individual students, his/her family and community, but is importantly part of the Government?s accelerated skill development programme and development of our youth so that they may escape many social ills confronting our society,' said MEC Fish Mahlalela.
The health and social services sectors are increasingly under strain due to limited pool of professionals available in the market.
For example, the province has been on the spotlight for the shortage of the doctors with less 700 in public hospitals.
Department spokesperson, Mpho Gabalasha said it was for this reason that the province decided to take these interventions of development, recruitment and retention of health and social service professionals.
"We chose to embark on an aggressive training of our own youth in the province, so that in the mid to long term, we have sustainable skill base in the province,' explained Mr Gabalasha.
On an annual basis, the department awards bursaries to academically deserving and financially needy students in the province, with special emphasis to rural areas, orphans and child head households.
"To date, we have 40 students studying medicine in Cuba, we have over 600 students studying various health professions in our tertiary institutions and more than 300 students studying social and community development in various universities,' revealed Mr Gabalasha.
Further to this, the department is this year training 200 unemployed youth in the province for the Auxiliary Social Work programme and is now in the process of recruiting 347 youth in the programme as part of the Masupa-Tsela National Youth Pioneer programme.
Application forms can be sourced from any of our clinics, hospitals, social work offices and district offices. The closing date is 30 September 2008.