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Easy to starts

Long Term Solutions

The approach used by the Umthombo Youth Development Foundation is more than a simple bursary 'hand out'. Rather, it is one of the few long term solutions to the challenge of recruiting and retaining quality health care professionals for South Africa's rural areas. Research has shown that health professionals are more likely to choose to work in a rural hospital if that is they orginate, or if they are exposed to the realities of rural health care delivery whilst doing their university training.

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Working Together

We have numerous significant partnerships including funders, the Department of Health, the community but the most important in terms of implementing the programme is the local hospital. Together with the rural hospital, we identify, train and support rural youth to become qualified health professionals, who in turn commit to work at the local hospital for their contract period.

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Great docs & support

Success So Far

The UYDF has produced 185 graduates and currently supports 205 students studying a wide range of health science disciplines - Medicine, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy, Occupational Therapy, Nutrition, Biomedical Technology, Social Work, Optometry, Dental Therapy, Dentistry, Environmental Health, Speech Therapy, Social Work, Nursing, Radiology and Psychology.

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Welcome to Umthombo Youth Development Foundation (UYDF)


The problem: There is an immense shortage of committed healthcare professionals in rural communities.


The reality: Research has shown that health professionals are more likely to live and work at a rural hospital if they grew up in a rural area or if they were exposed to the realities of rural healthcare delivery throughout the course of their university training.


The need: A long-term solution to the challenge of recruiting and retaining quality healthcare professionals in South Africa's rural areas.


The solution: Umthombo Youth Development Foundation identifies, trains and supports youth in their quest to become qualified healthcare professionals and as a way of addressing staff shortages at rural hospitals. This includes comprehensive mentoring and financial support throughout the course of their studies, as well as assistance with integration into the hospital working environment once qualified.


The return on investment: Dedicated, qualified young healthcare professionals who are committed to work at one of the 14 hospitals in the Umkhanyakude, Zululand, Uthungulu or Sisonke districts in return for the opportunity they had to attain a health science qualification.


The result: 218 graduates covering 16 different science disciplines over the course of 14 years. This year  230 students, all of rural origin, are receiving support from UYDF. Read more about our successes so far.


The recognition: UYDF has received numerous accolades for their innovative work including: Health Innovator 2014; KZN MEC for Health Special Recognition Award 2014; Special Ministerial Award 2013; Mail & Guardian Investing in Life Award (2011) & 2012 BHP Billiton Achiever Awards.

We subscribe to The Independent Code of governance for non-profit organisations in South Africa




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