Monday, 27 April 2020

Pretoria: President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday welcomed Cuban health professionals who have arrived in the country to support efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in South Africa.

In total, 217 Cuban health specialists and workers arrived in South Africa today. This followed a request made by the President to President Díaz Canel Bermúdez of Cuba.

The group consists of the following:

  • Experts in the fields of epidemiology, biostatistics, and public health;
  • Family physicians to guide interventions through door-to-door testing and to assist local health workers in health promotion and disease surveillance at the community level;
  • Healthcare technology engineers to assist in maintaining the inventory, deployment and repair of aged medical equipment; and
  • Experts to provide technical assistance working with local experts.

In 2019, South Africa and Cuba celebrated 25 years of cordial, mutually beneficial diplomatic relations and constructive cooperation at both bilateral and multilateral levels.

The SA-Cuba Agreement on Cooperation in the Fields of Public Health and Medical Sciences has registered much success.

Over 732 South Africans, many from previously disadvantaged communities, received their first five years of medical training in Cuba and have qualified as doctors since the inception of the Nelson Mandela/Fidel Castro medical training programme in 1997.

Many others continue receiving medical training in Cuba and will also provide in the coming years much needed primary healthcare services to their local communities.

“The strong and historic relations between the two countries has seen bilateral agreements and technical cooperation in many areas, including health, human settlements, public works, infrastructure, water resource management, sanitation and basic education, among others.

“The deployment of Cuban doctors, engineers and technical experts in all the provinces of South Africa rendering important services, is a demonstration of the strategic partnership and solidarity between South Africa and Cuba and a good example of South–South cooperation.” the Presidency said in a statement.