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Southern Africa is quite distinct from the rest of Africa. The region is comparatively well-developed and rich in resources, and has a robust mining sector. Countries of this region export platinum, diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, chromium, and uranium to the rest of the world. Even after all this, the region faces the same problems the rest of Africa faces.
The countries of Southern Africa are listed below.
- Eswatini (formerly called Swaziland)
- South Africa
The countries of Southern Africa invested heavily in infrastructure, education, and healthcare over the 20th century. This led to economic growth and turned those countries into middle-income countries. With the advent of globalization, the industries of this region started struggling. The main reason for that being the import of cheaper goods from China.
The countries of Southern Africa also face high levels of emigration of skilled workers. This has led to increased demand for skilled workers in the region. Physicians are among the highest in demand among the list of skilled professionals.
The population of Africa is witnessing rapid growth along with an increase in the youth population. With a low life expectancy of 50 years and a high fertility rate in some countries, Africa is looking at a youth bulge that will result in enormous demands for jobs in the continent.
South Africa is the region’s dominant country, and it spends around 9% of its GDP on the healthcare sector. Did you know that according to the World Bank, South Africa only had 0.905 physicians per 1000 population as of 2017? This is far lower than 1.566 per 1000 population, the world average.
This deficit will result in a limited number of doctors having to attend to hundreds of patients. This, in turn, delays accessibility to quality healthcare.
There are two major reasons behind the growing demand for doctors with MBChB or MBBS degrees.
- The first reason is increased brain drain from the African continent. Brain drain, as a term, refers to the migration of skilled professionals from the African region to other countries. This brain drain puts pressure on the healthcare system by forcing existing doctors to treat patients in high numbers. This can lead to exhaustion, overworking, and other related issues.
- The second reason for the increased demand for physicians is the booming population of Africa. The people of Africa are the fastest-growing population globally and are expected to grow to over 1.8 billion in 2035. This creates an increase in demand for healthcare, medical education, and other essential services. The governments in Africa are looking toward spending vast amounts of money in these fields.
The increased population also puts strain on the system and results in demand for accessible healthcare services. According to the WHO, almost half of the global population does not have access to necessary health care.
They have also envisioned the concept of universal health coverage where all people have access to health services as needed. It is a part of the sustainable development goals of the UN. With a deficit in doctors, universal health coverage will look like a far-fetched dream.
What are the eligibility requirements to join MBChB?
The Eligibility requirements to enroll in the MBChB program are listed below:
- ‘A’ level with Pass in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics
- Life Science and Physical Science with an associate degree/diploma in a health science program.
- Students with High School should have the credit or better in 5 subjects; four of which must be English, Mathematics, Physics / Chemistry, Biology / Agricultural Science
How long is the MBChB degree?
The MBChB degree is an undergraduate program that extends for five years for the students with A level and 6 Years for the students with O level or Grade 12. For the 5 Years MBChB program, First two years the students spend their time studying the basic science curriculum, Last three years, the students begin their clinical rotations taking part in the study and care of patients in hospitals.
After graduating from the MBChB program, you will have to go through a minimum of 18 months internship. On completion of the internship you will be qualified to practice as a general physician.
During the Internship, graduates will be holding Temporary licensure and upon completion of the internship, students will be issued with the Permanent Licensure through its respective Health Professional Council.
Upon Permanent Licensure, you can either work as a general physician or specialize in your field of interest through Post Graduate programs. Physicians specialized in different fields have better opportunities than the General Practioner.
Is there a growing demand for doctors with MBChB or MBBS degrees?
The answer is “yes.” Like we saw earlier, Africa is rapidly growing with a youth population that will be qualified to enter the labor pool in the future. Growth of the workforce will lead to economic growth and, in turn, lead to economic development.
A higher population will require a more extensive healthcare system to realize the UN’s dream of universal health coverage. The countries of Southern Africa are looking forward to making huge investments in healthcare to support economic development.
“Better incentives to retain staff and also attract back workers from the diaspora should be put in place as well as the use of appropriate ICT tools such as e-learning, electronic health records, and telemedicine to improve education and efficiency of health service delivery,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa.
The countries of Southern Africa are aspiring to attain sustainable development goals by the year 2030. And the number of graduates with a medical degree has seen a steady rise of 18% between 2000 and 2012 in Africa. Additionally, the number of new medical students has risen by an astonishing 34% between 2000 and 2012.
These numbers will only keep on rising with the increased development and need for adequate healthcare. This might just be an excellent time for you to enroll and realize your dream of becoming a physician to serve the people of your nation.
The countries of Southern Africa have taken steps to serve the people with better healthcare and to meet the growing demand for doctors. Demand forecasting and Planning is a process initiated to assess patient needs using statistical methods. Demand forecasting enables the governments to make investments in the sector to meet the healthcare needs of the people.
With Southern African countries looking to improve their healthcare sector, physicians and other health workers will benefit and pay. Physicians are highly respected in society.
Texila American University (TAU)
TAU is one of the top medical universities in Zambia offering a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) program with a state-of-the-art laboratory. This program will enable the students to be a vital part of Africa’s growing healthcare sector.
What the MBChB program at TAU offers:
- Engaging curriculum with case-based learning
- Small group learning activities.
- Emphasis on basic sciences and building basic clinical skills
- Ability to work closely with a mentor during the course
- Research projects that help them increase their knowledge
- Clinical and research experience
- A state-of-the-art laboratory and other facilities
At TAU, students are educated and molded to achieve a bright career in healthcare. Africa’s growing demand for doctors will be compensated gradually as more students enroll and graduate from the institute.