University of Limpopo’s 21-year-old doctor takes his Hippocratic Oath

Johannesburg- The University of Limpopo (UL) wrapped up the year by introducing its first graduates from its fledgling medical school, including a 21-year old who is said to be one of the country’s youngest doctors.

Professor Mahlo Mokgalong, UL vice-chancellor, and principal, said the investment in the medical school was backing the future.

“We are releasing you to the world at a very opportune time when we are struggling with this vicious pandemic. You’re the first graduate with a MBChB degree from the University of Limpopo [Turfloop campus]. You’re not just qualified doctors but have developed into great human beings,” Mokgalong said.

Among the 47 students who graduated was Mpumalanga-born Junior Mkhombo, who was only 15 when he made his entrance at the university’s medical school in Mankweng six years ago.

Makgolong said Mkhombo’s story must inspire many youngsters across the country to dream big. “We are proud that at the tender age of 21, we are releasing him to make an impact in the world. He is ready to serve.”

As one of the two schools in the faculty of health sciences, UL’s School of Medicine is accredited by the Council on Higher Education and Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) to offer Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery undergraduate degree.

As a six-year programme, the MBChB offers intensive and competitive qualification where students acquire a range of training from basic sciences to clinical skills laboratory, building up through primary healthcare, secondary and
tertiary care levels.

The first intake was in 2016, with the first cohort of 60 students and the numbers have increased exponentially. The MBChB curriculum is an integrated system-based curriculum, keeping up with world trends and HPCSA requirements.

Health MEC Dr. Phophi Ramathuba said it was a proud moment for the province. “We are happy that in our lifetime we have a medical school that we can all be proud of as a province. This school will go a long way in improving universal access to health services,” Ramathuba said.

“You must be radicalized by the hunger you see around you. Don’t sit in your consulting rooms and wait for poverty-stricken patients to come to you. I am expecting activist doctors in you.”

The 47 students on Wednesday took their Hippocratic Oath. This marks a momentous occasion in the history of the province, the country, and probably the continent.

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