Emigration of doctors, military and alternative service service Some proposals based on a survey of medical students

  • I. Michelow
  • E. Silber
  • M.R. Price


In the face of a critical shortage of skilled medical personnel, especially in the rural areas of South Africa, and high rates of emigration of doctors, a survey was conducted in 1989 of white male medical stl!dents at the University of the Witwatersrand to assess their intentions to emigrate, their reasons for emigrating and their attitudes to alternative civilian service. Ninety-five per cent of respondents still had military service obligations; 39% said they were considering emigrating. Military service was ranked as the first or second most important reason by 59% of those intending to emigrate and 47% said they would remain in South Africa if alternative service were available. The majority of those willing to do alternative service were also willing to do this in rural areas. The introduction of the option of alternative service would reduce emigration, increase the provision of medical care in rural areas, and acknowledge the right of individuals to serve the country in a non-militar: capacity.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0256-95749
print ISSN: 2078-5135