Long term solutions

Recruiting and training professionals where it is needed most

The Umthombo Youth Development Foundation does more than just provide student bursaries that ignite the provision of quality healthcare in rural areas. As part of our long-term solution, our goal is to recruit and train young, aspiring health professionals so that they may supply healthcare services in areas where it is needed most.

Research indicates that qualified health professionals are more likely to work in rural hospitals if that is where they originate, or if they have been exposed to the realities of rural healthcare during their university training. Our 20-year investment in rural youth to study and qualify as healthcare professionals to address rural hospital staff shortages has proved successful - over 90% of our 592 graduates have worked at a rural hospital, and at any one time between 57 to 65% of them continue to work at a rural hospital beyond their contractual obligations!

This confirms that our investment in rural youth to address staff shortages in rural hospitals is a good strategy.


  • Provides an incentive for rural high school learners to work hard to achieve the grades that are required to be accepted to study health science at university.
  • Offers a beacon of hope for local learners, and stimulates local youth development.
  • Provides localised mentors and role models for young people to emulate.
  • Stimulates community development and co-operation, and requires that hospital working groups assist in selecting those who receive student bursaries.
  • Offers students comprehensive support, allowing them to concentrate on their studies so they may achieve excellent results.
  • Improves the quality of healthcare delivery, due to the fact that the qualified healthcare professionals originate from the area, and therefore understand the language and culture of the local people.
  • Builds hope and prosperity within rural communities.
  • Offers what is probably one of the most sustainable solutions for the long-term supply of professional healthcare.