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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

On-line version ISSN 2071-9736
Print version ISSN 1025-9848


RUGGUNAN, Shaun. The labour market for histopathologists in KwaZulu-Natal: Emerging issues. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2012, vol.17, n.1, pp.1-8. ISSN 2071-9736.

The aim of this article was to assess the factors that shape the labour market for histopathologists in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa. The literature on the labour market and labour processes of histopathologists is dominated by North American and European literature. This gap is most acutely felt on the African continent. This article attempts to fill this gap by shifting the focus towards understanding the factors that shape the professional milieu and labour market for histopathologists in South Africa. This study through a qualitative, descriptive and contextual design engaged in in-depth interviews with 70% of the population of histopathologists in KZN. The interviews were analysed thematically. These interviews were triangulated against labour market statistics for histopathologists in South Africa as well as a range of documentary evidence. The outcome of the study has demonstrated four key challenges facing the labour market for histopathologists: racial inequities persist in the labour market, gender inequities also persist, there is unfettered public-private sector mobility, and poor curriculum design at medical school level accounts for a limited input of registrars into the profession. The article concludes that there needs to be a shift from only studying the labour market and work organisation of clinical doctors to empirical research on the role of medical laboratory specialists in the healthcare chain, which will render South African histopathologists and their work visible. A set of labour market interventions is also suggested.

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