Cuba and South Africa to celebrate 15 years of close ties
8 Jul 2011
The Deputy of Minister of Health, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa, and KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, will host Cuban academics and medical specialists during a week-long meeting in Durban to discuss the joint training programme of doctors and also celebrate 15 years of close ties between the two countries.
The session will commence on Monday, 11 July and cease with a 15 year celebration of the training programme (SA-Cuba training) on Friday, 15 July 2011.
The Department of Health is hosting the second Joint Academic Meeting, the first being held in Cuba, and the celebration of the achievements of the health Cooperation Agreement that was signed 15 years ago in 1996 between the governments of South Africa and Cuba.
South Africa and Cuba have maintained longstanding relations, dating back to the struggle against apartheid and colonialism in the sub-region. Following the democratic transition in South Africa, intense interest and bilateral interactions have developed between different sectors of the two countries.
Speaking during the state visit to Cuba, the His Excellency President Jacob Zuma said;
“Cuban doctors have for many years provided service to people in need of essential medical care. Of significant importance, is the training of our young people as medical professionals, through Cuba’s generous offer of eighty scholarships each year. Through this programme, more than five hundred young South Africans, from impoverished communities, have been given the opportunity to pursue a career in primary healthcare and provide a service to their communities.”(Address to the South Africa – Cuba Business Forum, 7 December 2010)
The first Cuban doctors began arriving in South Africa in 1996, to fill a skills shortage in state hospitals. Initially they were on three-year contracts, but where asked to extend their stay. Following the signature of the agreement on Cooperation in Health, 463 Cuban doctors were assigned to work in South Africa mainly in rural and previously under serviced areas. As the success of cooperation in the sphere of health was visible various national and provincial departments began pursuing projects in diverse areas.
Their stay in the country will involve a lengthy programme which will mainly feature discussions and sharing of experiences with their academic counterparts from South Africa on the training of medical doctors and delivery of quality healthcare.
The programme features, amongst other things:
Monday, 11 July 2011:
09h00 – 14h00: Visit to Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg
17h00: Welcoming Gala Dinner at Elangeni Hotel, Addressed by MEC for Health: Dr SM Dhlomo
Wednesday, 13 July 2011:
15h00 – 18h00: Visit to Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital
Thursday, 14 July 2011:
11h00 – 14h00: Graduation Ceremony of 25 Cuba Trained Doctors University of KwaZulu-Natal – MH Joosab Hall, Durban – Westville Campus
Friday, 15 July 2011:
09h00 – 13h00: 15th Anniversary Celebration of the South Africa – Cuba Cooperation Agreement, Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC, Hall 2, Durban
Journalists are invited to these open sessions.
For further information contact:
Cell: 083 923 0261
Cell: 083 447 2869
Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Health
8 Jul 2011
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