Since childhood, Leepile Reamogetse Taunyane knew that one day his hands would heal people and he would make a contribution to improving the country’s healthcare services.
Taunyane, from Mafikeng in the North West, completed his Grade 12 in 2008 and wanted to study medicine. Unfortunately, he didn’t meet the criteria required at some medical schools and could not get in.
Determined to fulfill his dream, the 22-year-old decided to study at the University of North West, where he did a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry Junior Degree, as well as Honours in Molecular Microbiology to improve his chances of being accepted to medical school.
After applying for a few years to get into the South African-Cuba Medical Students Training Programme, Taunyane was finally accepted this year and will be among the 1 000 students who will jet off to Cuba in September.
“It’s something I always wanted and I knew that one day, I would get a chance. My goal was to go into medicine, hence the degrees I did were more in line with the medical field. They offered a better chance to be accepted to any medical school. I wanted to boost my marks with university marks because I knew my potential and it improved my chances,” said an elated Taunyane.
Asked how prepared he is, especially considering that he will have to spend a year learning in Spanish, a confident Taunyane said he has been preparing for this day and has been doing research for the past few years.
“I’m more prepared now than I was after matric because I have had a few years to prepare while in university,” he said.
He commended the Health Department for this positive initiative. However, he stressed that the outcome rests on the students themselves, who will have to work hard and perform to the best of their abilities.
Making a difference
Taunyane said the main healthcare challenge facing his community is the unavailability of ambulances.
“Maybe one can raise this with the department and as a doctor, look at this issue and offer a way to address it.
“One can come up with a strategy, offer mobile clinic services that can be available nearby where people live. I believe that you have to experience certain instances in order to address them,” Taunyane said.