More than 200 Cuban health professionals are expected to arrive in South Africa on Sunday to help the country in its fight against Covid-19, according to Cuban Ambassador Rodolfo Benítez Verson.
The 217 members of the “Medical Brigade” include family physicians, epidemiologists, biologists, healthcare technology experts, engineering experts, biotechnology experts and other specialists, the embassy said in a statement.
“In response to the request made by the government of the Republic of South Africa, the government of Cuba has decided to support the great efforts that are currently made by South Africa in containing and arresting the spread of the coronavirus,” the embassy said.
It said the professionals were “carefully selected” and that they possess extensive knowledge of the planning, execution and management of clinical cases and public health response.
“They will be deployed in different provinces of the country in accordance with the strategic plans elaborated by the Department of Health.”
The deployment of the experts will help to flatten the curve quicker, the embassy said.
“These times require co-operation and solidarity. If we act together, the propagation of the virus will be halted in a faster and more cost-effective manner.
“Cuba has already thousands of health professionals in 21 countries across the globe to assist in the fight against Covid-19.
“The people and government of Cuba value the very special and deep friendship with the government and people of South Africa and consider a duty to extent solidarity and support to our brothers and sisters of this beautiful nation in this time of need,” the embassy said.
“We do not have yet the return itinerary of the plane which is already on its way to Havana. Earlier this month Minister of Health, Zweli Mkhize, has announced South Africa would seek assistance from Cuba and China to fight Covid-19, saying their expertise was needed in South Africa.
“The advantage of Cuba is that their community and district health model is actually one that we would like to use because it works in instances where we would like to reach out to as many communities and ensure there is good [coverage] at community level,” Mkhize said.