70 Cuban­trained doc­tors ready to pre­vent dis­ease

The Witness - - NEWS -

“[Cuba’s] ap­proach to health­care is dif­fer­ent in that it pro­motes dis­ease preven­tion in­stead of fo­cus­ing on cure, which is un­sus­tain­able.”

A GROUP of 70 Cuban­trained South African doc­tors grad­u­ated with a Doc­tor of Medicine de­gree from the Univer­sity of Villa Clara (Cuba) at a grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony in Dur­ban on Fri­day.

The stu­dents, 13 of them from KwaZulu­Natal, stud­ied in Cuba for six years and fin­ished at var­i­ous South African uni­ver­si­ties, in­clud­ing the Univer­sity of KwaZulu­Natal’s (UKZN) Westville cam­pus, where the grad­u­a­tion was hosted. Speak­ing at a grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony, MEC for Health Si­bongiseni Dhlomo lauded the Man­dela Fidel Cas­tro Med­i­cal train­ing pro­gramme.

Dhlomo said since the pro­gramme’s in­cep­tion, it has en­abled South Africa to be­gin to ad­dress the short­age of doc­tors in the coun­try by send­ing young as­pi­rant doc­tors from poor com­mu­ni­ties for med­i­cal train­ing in Cuban uni­ver­si­ties, while also re­cruit­ing some Cuban doc­tors to lo­cal shores.

There are cur­rently 2 885 South African med­i­cal stu­dents in Cuba in var­i­ous lev­els of study. Al­most 600 doc­tors have al­ready qual­i­fied from the Nel­son Man­dela Fidel Cas­tro Med­i­cal train­ing pro­gramme, while 98 stu­dents are do­ing their fi­nal year in South African med­i­cal schools.

South African med­i­cal stu­dents who study in Cuba spend a year learn­ing Span­ish, five years of aca­demic med­i­cal stud­ies and 18 months be­ing in­te­grated into the SA med­i­cal health sys­tem — South Africa has a dif­fer­ent dis­ease pro­file com­pared to Cuba — as well as one year of in­tern­ship.

“The rea­son why gov­ern­ments in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries such as ours and the An­golans and many oth­ers hold Cuba in such high re­gard is be­cause of the high qual­ity of med­i­cal train­ing that the Cubans of­fer. Their ap­proach to health­care is dif­fer­ent in that it pro­motes dis­ease preven­tion in­stead of fo­cus­ing on cure, which is un­sus­tain­able,” said Dhlomo.

— Wit­ness Re­porter.

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