Almost half of South Africa’s population live in rural areas, but are served by 12% of the countries doctors. Few health professionals are willing to endure the hardships of remote and isolated communities, leaving rural hospitals with staff vacancies of up to 50%. Without proper health-care, maternal and child mortality is on the rise, and the difference in the life expectancy between rich and poor is nearly twenty years.
However, young gifted medical students from poor rural communities are helping solve the problem. For the past 11 years, the Umthombo Youth Development Foundation in Kwa-Zulu Natal has assisted rural youth become qualified health-care professionals. Research has shown that students from rural areas are more likely to go back home and work in their local hospitals, bringing vital knowledge and services to millions of people otherwise forgotten.
This week Special Assignment brings you the inspiring story of a builder and a taxi-driver who overcame the impossible and dedicated their lives to saving others. Both from villages deep in Kwa-Zulu Natal, they grew up without money, electricity, water and, often, no food. Today, one is a doctor and the other a nurse. We follow their journey to achieve their dreams.
BROADCAST DATE: 5 JANUARY 2012
SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT: SABC 3 at 21.00