70 Cubantrained doctors ready to prevent disease
“[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.