The road to working in South Africa as an internationally qualified healthcare professional is a long and complicated one, and it can take up to a year from initial enquiry to being placed in a facility. The policies at each of the government and regulatory bodies involved change occasionally, meaning any doctor wishing to come and work in South Africa can’t necessarily rely on the experience of friends and colleagues who have been through the process previously. This is where AHP comes in.
In 2015 we undertook a project to fully map the recruitment of foreign-qualified healthcare workers into South Africa’s public health sector, across all regulatory bodies and government departments, including the Foreign Workforce Management Programme (FWMP) and the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). The process depends on a healthcare worker’s home country, where training took place and a variety of other factors. The resulting process maps from our Recruitment Assist project are now the only guide in the country to effectively navigating the process.
We are funded by our donors to assist in placing doctors and other healthcare personnel where they are needed most. While South Africa is often highlighted as one of the wealthiest sub-Saharan countries, the majority of the population (84%) relies on public healthcare, which is serviced by only 30% of South African doctors. Moreover, most doctors choose to work in urban areas – and rural areas are left to bear the brunt of staff shortages as the country struggles to attract and retain medical staff to provide services in remote locations.
Yet when doctors go rural, many find the experience enjoyable, life-changing and motivating. Most talk of the extreme variety of clinical experiences on offer, others highlight what making a difference means to them. Watch our video of a Day in the Life of a Rural Doctor, which was filmed at Bethesda Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, and this video we made at Hlabisa Hospital calling for UK doctors to consider working in South Africa.
If you would like to know more about working in South Africa as an internationally qualified health professional, get in touch and see how we can help you.