The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] calls on the Department of Health not to discard the dream of Nelson Mandela of training future doctors in Cuba. In 1996 Former President Mandela and Fidel Castro signed an intergovernmental cooperation agreement on health which made provision for mass training of South African doctors in Cuba and the deployment of Cuban doctors to the country to work in rural areas.
Madiba’s dream is existentially threatened by the Department of Health that flatly refuses to renew the agreement, in spite of the chronic shortage of doctors and specialised skills. The Cuba-SA cooperation on health is cited by the United Nations as the model of South-South cooperation, which is not only about money but about the revolution and saving people’s lives. Throughout the years the agreement has benefitted rural and remote communities who have no access to primary healthcare. …..more