The Spes Bona initiative for Medical Education aims to improve the training and living conditions of young doctors and medical students from low and middle income countries.
In South Africa, 28,700,000 people live below the upper-bound poverty line. In some provinces, up to 25% of households do not have access to running water. 11,500,000 people are vulnerable to hunger. Despite these dire conditions, hard-working students decide to become doctors. But, while the median income in the country stands at € 160 per month, very few families manage to afford the € 3,000 annual medical school registration fees. 51% of the 18-24 year old students are unable to finance their studies. Although several private and public scholarships exist, often covering the payment of tuition fees, many students remain vulnerable and 17% of university students experienced hunger.
Moreover, many young African doctors come to South Africa to benefit from the excellent training programs offered by South African universities. Unfortunately, they are often not funded and thus unable to meet certain training-related costs (university tuition fees, CPR certification courses,…) or daily expenses (daily commuting to hospitals, accommodation, food,…).
Sources: StatSA (http://www.statssa.gov.za); Southern Africa Labor and Development Research Unit; Pietermaritzburg Economic Justic and Dignity Group.