UYDF identifies, trains and supports rural youth to become qualified health care professionals in order to address the human resource shortages in rural hospitals, thereby improving health care to the indigent rural population of northern KwaZulu-Natal and rural Eastern Cape, South Africa.
Research found that the lack of qualified healthcare professionals in this area could be attributed to the following issues:
Based on these findings and the belief that despite the poor social and economic circumstances of the youth in the area, that if given the opportunity and necessary support, rural youth could succeed in becoming health care professionals and would return to serve their communities when qualified.
The Umthombo Youth Development Foundtion (formerly Friends of Mosvold Scholarship Scheme) thus sought to identify members of the local youth community who had the potential to, and an interest in, becoming healthcare providers and who would commit to working at one of the 5 hospitals in the district for at least the same number of years they received university support for.
When Umthombo Youth Development Foundation was established in 1999 the main focus was to provide qualified healthcare professionals for Mosvold Hospital, which was later expanded to include the other 4 hospitals in the Umkhanyakude district. Currently the UYDF is working with 13 rural KZN hospitals and 2 rural Eastern Cape Hospitals.
To date 218 graduates have received their qualifications by means of support from the UYDF, the majority of who are currently making a positive contribution to their community by working at rural hospitals in KZN and the Eastern Cape.