UKZN to cap 26 Cuban doctors

2011-07-12 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo welcomed a Cuban delegation for a joint academic meeting and the 15th anniversary celebrations of the South African Cuban Health Agreement, which has produced 282 medical doctors.

The delegation comprised academics and medical specialists who will attend the week-long meeting, which started in Durban yesterday. They will discuss a joint training programme for doctors, which has helped South African students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The delegation first visited Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg yesterday morning where seven Cuban doctors are serving.

In the other parts of the province there are 21 Cuban doctors.

Grey’s Hospital chief executive Dr Ben Bilenge believes they are making a difference in his hospital.

“The Cubans are doing a tremendous job with the local doctors either going private or going oversees. Government has done and is still doing its part in improving the health system, but local doctors are still leaving,” said Bilenge.

On Thursday 26 local doctors, who studied in Cuba will graduate at the University of KZN.

The vice-chancellor of Cuba’s University of Cienfuegos, Dr Roberto Baños, said the relationship between the two countries is solid.

“For 15 years we have been working together for … the South Africa community, and we are going forward,” said Dr Baños.

Health spokesperson Chris Maxon said in an attempt to stop the “poaching” of local doctors, MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dlomo is encouraging communities to identify eligible students who are interested in studying medicine.

“The department will fund the studies through bursaries and exchange programmes.

“In this way the department hopes that after graduating the students will have the heart to serve their own communities than to abandon them,” said Maxon.

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