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Doctor shortages not unique to SA

Aaron Motsoaledi says the shortage in medical professionals is a longstanding problem not isolated to SA.

FILE IMAGE. Aaron Motsoaledi says the shortage in medical professionals is a longstanding problem not isolated to SA. Picture: GCIS/SAPA

CAPE TOWN - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says there are several initiatives in place to help increase the number of health workers in South Africa.

Trainee doctors have often complained of long working hours and a group of junior doctors have now signed a petition, calling on government to help.

Motsoaledi admits this has been a long standing problem but says it's not isolated to South Africa alone.

He says a specialised health sciences institution is to be set up, adding there are currently more than 2,000 medical students training in Cuba.

"We're forced to increase the intrigue of medical students to Cuba. Ever since former President Nelson Mandela signed an agreement we've been sending 60 young students to Cuba every year but in 2012 we increased in to 1,000."