SAMA Pledges R550 000 to Support #IMadeADoctor Campaign
In an attempt to ensure that all Medical students at UKZN with historical debt can register for the 2020 academic year, the Medical Campus Representative Council (MCRC) launched the #IMadeADoctor Fundraising campaign.
The students were delighted with the news that the South African Medical Association (SAMA) had donated R550 000 to the campaign. Within a two-week period, the campaign raised R1 million, reaching its first milestone and ensuring that all 188 students were able to register.
‘The Junior Doctors’ Association of SAMA also strongly motivated for a donation and in the end the decision to assist was an easy one. Investing in future Medical professionals is important and this is a tangible way in which we can make a difference,’ said SAMA Deputy Chairperson, Dr Mvuyisi Mzukwa.
Mzukwa hopes that the donation will motivate others to help make education a reality for those who struggle financially.
‘We’ve taken this step as it involves Medical students who form part of our healthcare community as a medical association. But it should also serve as a message to institutions and associations who represent professionals in other fields where there are students who need financial assistance, and who will benefit from their generosity,’ he added.
Ms Xoliswa Njapha, MCRC Student Services representative said, ‘We are delighted with the donation from SAMA.’ She has been spearheading the campaign together with final-year student, Mr Thanduxolo Dube, the College of Health Sciences and the University’s fundraising arm, the UKZN Foundation. A further R8 million is required to pay off the total historical debt.
Dube commented, ‘When we learnt that SAMA had pledged over half a million towards our campaign, we were excited. As the news settled, we felt humbled by the gesture. This was more than we expected. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to SAMA. The donation goes beyond making a difference to the prospective doctors on the verge of exclusion and also reaches their families and society. I also want to thank the College of Health Sciences management. We came together to work on this project and the teamwork paid off. It is only through negotiations and compromise that we can grow a strong leadership team both as student and staff leaders.’
Dube called upon UKZN alumni and other organisations to also contribute.
Professor Busisiwe Ncama, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Health Sciences, thanked SAMA. ‘We are overwhelmed by this kind gesture from our colleagues at SAMA. Both their national and provincial offices came together to support our students after hearing their plea. Thank you for assisting in ensuring that we are able to graduate more doctors in the country.’
The South African Medical Association was formally constituted on 21 May 1998 as a unification of a variety of doctors’ groups that had represented a diversity of interests. SAMA is a non-statutory, professional association for public, and private sector medical practitioners. It is a voluntary membership association that exists to serve the best interests and needs of its members in any and all healthcare related matters.
Words: MaryAnn Francis and Vernon Kinnear