South Africa: At Risk and Unpaid - the Foreign Doctors Treating Covid-19 in South Africa

(File photo).

While doctors flown in from Cuba have earned handsome salaries for their work on the Covid-19 frontlines, there is a small group of doctors from the African continent who are battling Covid-19 daily without pay. Following the death of a Libyan colleague, they say they are at breaking point.

The supernumerary registrar programme was created to give doctors from other African countries specialised training in South Africa in order to allow them to bring those skills home.

But during the Covid-19 pandemic, some of these foreign doctors have found themselves effectively stranded in South Africa, working the same gruelling shifts as local medics to treat Covid-19 without pay. Because they are technically registered as foreign students, they have no access to the benefits or salary of their local colleagues. But like them, they have been putting themselves at risk daily for close to a year to treat patients hit by the first and second wave of the pandemic.

"We are so tired," Dr X told Daily Maverick.

Dr X is a supernumerary registrar from a SADC country whose identity is known to Daily Maverick. None of the doctors was comfortable being identified for this article because they feared recriminations, as...

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