FOREIGN MEDICAL STAFF CONSIDER LEAVING SA

SABC News, 30 May 2008

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The South African Medical Association (Sama) has warned that foreign doctors could leave the country in large numbers after the spate of xenophobic attacks, putting strain on the health sector. Sama chairperson Kgosi Letlape says a number of foreign health professionals have expressed concern about staying in South Africa. Letlape says if foreign doctors leave South Africa, the health sector will be in trouble. Meanwhile, the Gauteng government is compiling a data base of victims of xenophobic attacks in temporary shelters who have chronic diseases. This comes after aid agencies warned of health risks and lack of health facilities at shelters. Cabinet's announcement of a five-point plan to deal with the consequences of xenophobia-related attacks has presented challenges to all government departments, including housing. Responding to a question about whether her department would provide housing for displaced people, Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said government had assembled a team that would respond to their needs. She says while she fully understands the plight of refugees, and even though the housing department has limited resources, it is keen to offer whatever expertise it can to help resolve the situation. Meanwhile, Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has been met with mixed reaction from residents in various communities that she visited in the Cape Peninsula today. Mlambo-Ngcuka and her entourage went on a walkabout in the Du Noon and Masiphumelele informal settlements to get firsthand experience of the situation following the recent xenophobic attacks. The visit is in line with President Thabo Mbeki's promise that all members of Cabinet would work tirelessly to restore order.