President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed 217 Cuban health professionals who are in the country to support efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
A chartered SAA plane landed at the Waterkloof Air Force Base just after midnight to a welcome from government officials from South Africa and Cuba.
In a statement released on Monday morning, Ramaphosa said: “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.”
He said the strong and historic relations between the two countries had seen bilateral agreements and technical cooperation in many areas, including health, sanitation and basic education, among others.
The Department of International Relations has explained that medical experts from Cuba will be working alongside South African doctors in combatting COVID-19.
International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor said: “We asked the government of Cuba to send a multidisciplinary team of experts and health professionals. These men and women are to work alongside South African health professionals.”
Pandor said this showed the kind nature of the South American country.
“Cuba has once again proven the character of its nation through its act of international human solidarity.”
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.