Shrinking numbers of medical researchers have impacted on the production of health care professionals in South Africa, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Thursday.
Speaking at Parliament in Cape Town at the launch of a National Health PhD Scholars Programme, he said there was an international "acute shortage" of medical personnel, but this was most pronounced in sub-Saharan Africa.
"In South Africa, one of the key impediments that has been constraining the production of healthcare providers is the decline in the health research workforce, which has been exacerbated by the burden of disease.
"There is limited capacity to produce health care professionals in the numbers the country requires."
Fully-funded PhD scholarships have been awarded to 13 recipients from institutions around the country.
Motsoaledi said the recipients, some of whom were present at the event, would be able to pursue their research in medical and related fields.
The programme aimed to produce 1000 PhD graduates over the next 10 years.