20 years of Cuban medical collaboration in South Africa

(Granma) – Polokwane, South Africa – Dr. Phophi Ramathuba, health minister for the province of Limpopo, expressed her gratitude for Cuba’s collaboration efforts in the sphere, which include stories which deserve to be told, she said.

We have benefited greatly. Thanks to cooperation programs, young men and women from the province, especially those from underprivileged communities, have gone to study in Cuba, highlighted Ramathuba, speaking to Prensa Latina in Polokwane the capital of Limpopo province.

She noted the difficulty of training doctors in the rural province given the lack of a medical school.

Last year, 110 young students traveled to Cuba to fulfill their dream of becoming doctors, “22 of which are currently working here in the province, offering services in our communities,” she added.

Clearly enthused by the cooperation program – an initiative of South African and Cuban leaders, Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro – Ramathuba noted that “I want to see more South African doctors, more doctors in Limpopo,” to treat people in remote communities.

The minister emphasized that her country can learn a great deal from Cuba, also praising its public health care system and humanist training of medical professionals.

She also called to strengthen and expand cooperation efforts in light of the 20th anniversary the arrival of the first group of Cuban doctors to South Africa.

In this sense, she stated that the country is scheduled to “receive 25 doctors” from the island, who will “dedicate their efforts to providing curative and preventative care.”

She likewise noted that she hoped such collaborative efforts will contribute to eradicating illnesses such as tuberculosis and malaria in her country. “Cuba isn’t a rich country and was able to eradicate them, we want to do the same,” she stated.

Ramathuba expressed her admiration for the small Caribbean country which – through its Revolutionary program – could give a youngster from the countryside the opportunity to become a doctor, an achievement “which we must celebrate.”

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