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Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla. Photo: GCIS / Flickr

Phaahla congratulates over 550 SA doctors who studied in Cuba

Minister of Health Joe Phaahla has congratulated over 550 doctors from South Africa who completed their studies in Cuba.

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Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla. Photo: GCIS / Flickr

Minister of Health Joe Phaahla congratulated the 594 recently graduated South African Medical Students who studied at Cuban universities as part of the Nelson Mandela/Fidel Castro Medical Collaboration Programme.

Minister congratulates graduates at a ceremony

Phaahla was speaking during the graduation ceremony.  He stated that the demands for doctors and healthcare workers is a huge issue in South Africa’s healthcare system.

The aim of the Nelson Mandela/Fidel Castro Medical Collaboration Programme is to alleviate the shortage of doctors in Mzansi. The objective is also to assist historically disadvantaged communities and improve human resource capacity and strengthen the country’s healthcare system, reports SA gov.

The group of over 500 doctors hailed from eight different provinces. 

“The programme opened access to advanced training as medical practitioners for disadvantaged students who would otherwise not be admitted in most of the South African medical schools because of their socio-economic background,”

said Phaahla.

Phaahla spoke about the programme producing a long-lasting relationship between South African and Cuban universities.

Where do the graduates go after returning to SA?

Upon return to Mzansi, the graduates will be integrated into the South African medical schools for quality assurance of their qualifications. Phaahla explained that after this, the graduates will get offered places for their internships and community service programmes.

“As you graduate, we welcome you to join this patriotic and dedicated force that has demonstrated resilience during the height of COVID-19 pandemic, saving lives of our people, but also some losing their own lives – we salute them for their courageous acts,”

the Minister said.

SA’s donation to Cuba is over a quarter billion rand, not R50 million

In related news, it was previously reported that AfriForum has revealed that the donation to Cuba is actually R350 million and not R50 million as government said. 

On 2 February 2022, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Alvin Botes announced the donation to Cuba, saying that it was necessary, as US sanctions continue to pose a food security threat to the communist island. South Africa has a close relationship with Cuba due to the role it played in assisting liberation movements across the island.

According to the record, the government has agreed to a contract with the government of Cuba, in terms of which the R50 million will only be the first payment in the more than a quarter-billion rand donation. Read the full story here.