About Umthombo

UYDF identifies, trains and supports rural youth to become qualified healthcare professionals, thereby improving healthcare to the indigent rural population of northern Kwa-Zulu Natal and rural Eastern Cape, South Africa.

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. See the model used to achieve this.

The ROI: A cadre of dedicated, qualified, young healthcare professionals who are committed to working at one of the 15 hospitals in the Umkhanyakude, Zululand and the King Cetshwayo district in return for the opportunity to attain a health science qualification.

The result: 385 graduates covering 16 different science disciplines over the course of 20 years - 133 of 385 graduates are doctors! This year, 236 students, all of the rural origin, are receiving support from the UYDF. Read more about our successes so far and watch a video of our work.

The recognition: The UYDF has received numerous accolades for their innovative work, including:
Mail & Guardian Investing in Health Award (2016); Health Innovator (2014), and more.

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