JOHANNESBURG, April 27 (Xinhua) — South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday welcomed 217 Cuban medical professionals who have been deployed to the country to combat the spread of COVID-19.
The healthcare workers arrived in South Africa on Sunday night after Ramaphosa requested assistance from the Cuban government.
“The experts will support efforts being made in South Africa to contain the spread of COVID-19,” presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko said.
The team of medical professionals from Cuba include infectious diseases experts, epidemiologists, health technology engineers and family physicians to assist during door-to-door testing.
South Africa has recorded 4,546 cases of COVID-19 so far with 87 fatalities with most of the confirmed cases concentrated in the Western Cape.
National Health Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) welcomed the deployment of healthcare workers, stating that they would assist in the fight against the pandemic.
“The assistance of Cubans who are armed with extensive knowledge and experience on health-related interventions is going to be a shot in the arm for our efforts to stem the tide against new infections.
“With the new infections growing at an alarming rate the Cuban brigade could not have come at a better time,” said Nehawu spokesperson Khaya Xaba.
South African and Cuban governments collaborate on the field of healthcare, with over 700 South African doctors having been trained in Cuba in the past decade.
“Many others continue receiving medical training in Cuba, and will also provide in the coming years much needed primary healthcare services to their local communities,” Diko added.