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UKZN Foundation - Philips Donates Three Million Worth of Bursaries to Medical Students

The recipient students are seen with, on the left Mr Romulen Pillay, Managing Director, Philips Southern Africa and Ms Dolly Khuzwayo, BBBEE Transformation Officer Philips Southern Africa, and on the right, Mr Ronald Krishna, Regional Manager Phillips Southern Africa KZN; and Professor Fanie Botha, Director Professional Services, College of Health Sciences, UKZN

The College of Health Sciences recently hosted Philips South Africa to show appreciation for the three million worth of bursaries awarded to Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) students. The event was held at Susser and Stain Seminar Room at Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Medical School.

The donation process was initiated by the College Director of Professional Services, Professor Fanie Botha and overseen by UKZN Foundation’s Donor Relationship Manager, Mr Tebelo Kokoropo. Funding issues affect students from all disciplines as the majority come from previously disadvantaged communities which is considered a reality for medical students.

Philips, a health technology company, have come on board for the second time to donate bursaries for MBChB students at different levels of their studies.

Mr Romulen Edward Pillay, Managing Director for Philips South Africa, spoke of his admiration for the professions of doctors, technicians and nurses for their career choice. He recalled what the country went through during Covid-19 and his personal experience with public hospital care.

‘I grew up in KwaZulu-Natal and we all see the imbalance between access to quality health care. For a company to be relevant in the South African context, you can’t grow up here and not use the organisation you work for to address some of the social economic difficulties we have. This is the reason we are part of this programme,’ said Pillay.

As a UKZN alumnus, he also reflected on his close relationship with the University. ‘My job as the CEO of Philips is to ensure we are playing a significant role in making quality healthcare accessible. We are partnering and helping – this is one opportunity where we can fund future doctors and increase the number of available healthcare professionals in the country.’

On behalf of the University and the College of Health Sciences, Botha thanked Philips for helping students by providing financial support. ‘Within the University there is always a struggle to get funding to support our students. By providing a financial solution, Philips SA is helping alleviate these challenges.’

Botha will build on the partnership with Philips, adding to the possibility of more funding of other Health Science disciplines. ‘We are very grateful to Philips and would like to express our sincere appreciation for helping our students’.

Ms Sthokozile Shangase, a first year MBChB student expressed her gratitude for the opportunity. ‘I am grateful for such an opportunity. It has been a hard year. Being unfunded is definitely an experience I don’t wish on anyone. Getting such an opportunity shows that people are willing to help. As a medical professional, it inspires us to help others.’

Ms Sandiswa Ncube, a second-year student added, ‘We are grateful for the chance to improve ourselves academically and develop our communities.’


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