Survive & Thrive


For support for students please go to the Survive & Thrive Students  page.

Even those of us who are passionate about working rural can experience stress and burnout, if you do not look after yourself you run the risk of mental health problems such as anxiety, panic attacks and depression. RuDASA is committed to finding or developing tools and support structures for Rural Clinicians so that they can not only survive, but thrive in rural areas. We ran our 1st Doctors Retreat in Eastern Cape in 2020, and we are currently developing a Mentoring Programme which will include Rural Buddies, Rural Champions, Rural Retreats, and a long term goal of a formal Mentoring CPD event. 

Rural Buddies is a provincial WhatsApp group for RuDASA members to share information and ask questions about what is happening in that province.

Mentoring Programme 2021:

Eastern Cape On-Boarding Programme 8th February to 21st March 2021

RuDASA is proud to collaborate with the Department of Family Medicine Walter Sisulu University (WSU) and the Rural Health Advocacy Project  (RHAP) to host this Zoom webinar series for all the new health care practitioners  that have joined EC rural health facilities in January 2021. This program has been created through a rural health network of passionate rural doctors that wish to support and inspire our new colleagues for rural health care. Each session will be led by an expert in rural best practice.

At the moment the clinical part of the program is heavily focused on doctors and clinical associates, but the orientation package is open to any new clinician in an EC rural health facility. The sections on employee support, the MDT team, health care worker mental health and patient centred care are particularly relevant. Specific clinical topics may also be relevant to your scope of practice. We hope to extend materials more relevant to all job descriptions over this year.

Learn how to thrive, not just survive, in rural health!


To sample the programme register for the Inaugural Session:  How the ECDOH works Monday, 8th February at 18.00 Dr Ben Gaunt, Clinical Manager Zithulele Hospital: Register for Zoom Webinar

Meeting ID: 859 6067 8465 Passcode: 673194 

Welcome PACK for the full programme

Welcome to the first time ever comprehensive online package for new doctors (interns & students welcome)  joining rural health in the Eastern Cape. COVID has transformed our training landscape and we are now able to offer an orientation program that can fit in with a clinician’s busy program, and still give them access to all the knowledge and resources they need to thrive in rural health care. 


  • A clearly designed 6 week curriculum with a hybrid of teaching methodology

  • Weekly recommended online pre-recorded webinars, training videos, training presentations and online courses that can be done at home at a time that suits you.

  • Interactive Zoom sessions on Monday evenings (with occasional additional  sessions) that will cover FAQ and top tips on the materials you had covered. All

    Zoom sessions will be recorded and will be made available online.

  • Access to the weekly WSU Family Medicine tutorials. These are recorded and available to watch anytime. Doctors will be welcome to join the yearly ongoing


  • Weekly recommendations for specific guidelines, polices, protocols and tools useful to your daily work.

  •  Introduction to key mentors and experts that can provide ongoing support as the course progresses

     Weekly materials that will be uploaded:

    Week 1: HIV and TB
    Week 2: Maternal health
    Week 3: Neonatal Health and Paediatrics
    Week 4: Anaesthetics, Trauma and Orthopaedics
    Week 5: Thriving in rural health care, preventing burn-out & Mental health
    Week 6: Patient centred care
    Week 7: The Subtle Art of influencing your patient

    How to get started: 

    FREE for members of RuDASA, RuNurSA, RuReSA, & PACASA

    Sign Up to RuDASA 

    To register for the On-Boarding Programme Click

    Once registered you will be sent the Zoom link for each session

    For more information on the programme content contact : Dr Madeleine Muller JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING

    Problems registering? Contact our Office Co-ordinator: JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING






Thriving in Rural Health looks at three aspects important to thriving as a doctor in a rural health setting: 

  • Tools to strengthen resilience in yourself and your colleagues
  • Simplified approaches to improve and change inefficient systems in the workplace
  • Practical and legal aspects of healthcare worker reporting (VOICE)
  The Wellness for Effective Leadership (WEL) Programme is a personal development course designed to assist managers in the public sector to improve their wellness, to develop their emotional intelligence and personal and interpersonal competencies, and to deal effectively with stress and the risks of burnout. The programme was developed in 2009 in response to a crisis in service delivery in a rural area, and now maintains a strong focus on improving wellness in order to improve service delivery.

SADAG is Africa’s largest mental health support and advocacy group, serving as a support network for the thousands of South Africans who live with mental health problems. It has on its board a powerful team of Patients, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and General Practitioners. SADAG manages a 16-line counselling-and-referral call centre, and is the voice of patient advocacy, working in urban, peri-urban, and the most rural communities across South Africa. Find out about their Rural Outreach

Suicide Crisis Line
0800 567 567

Discovery Medical Students & Young Doctors Helpline
0800 323 323

SADAG Mental Health Line
Speak to a trained counsellor 011 234 4837 or 0800 20 50 26 

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