Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku welcomed 28 Cuban Medical Brigade doctors
to the province on Saturday, saying he hopes South Africa can learn from the
experiences of the Cuban experts.
More than 200 arrived in
South Africa last month, consisting of family physicians, epidemiologists,
biostatisticians, healthcare technology engineers, biotechnology experts and
“We have changed gear and
that is where we are going to use the experience of the Cuban [Medical] Brigade
because we are going into our communities doing a door-to-door and a ward-based
approach in terms of the strategy,” Masuku said, adding this approach
would focus on hot spots.
“This is what we think
will be the backbone of our National Health Insurance because what we are
hoping to achieve and build beyond this is a primary healthcare system that
will be able to create a sustainable healthcare system going forward.
“So, we are welcoming you
with excitement because we are ready to learn from you.”
He said the pandemic had created
a good opportunity to fast-track reforms in the health sector, with a priority
to improving patient care.
“The department’s priorities
are about improving the patient experience of care in our facilities in making
sure that our staff are highly motivated, taken care of. We are making sure
they have their basic tools of trade.
“Happy doctors and nurses
will produce a happy patient.”
Masuku added the partnership
would be a way to build this type of healthcare system.
“It is in this regard that
we urge you to see your contribution during this period as a way of partnering
with us in building a strong public health system that is capacitated to usher
in universal health coverage in South Africa.
“You are all a part of the
building of an important legacy for the transformation of health in South
Africa,” he told members of the brigade.
The Cuban health system was
centred on primary healthcare which, Masuku said, would aid the transformation
of South Africa’s health system too.
“This exchange is
therefore an important opportunity for us to share knowledge and experiences,
but also moments of joy, laughter and friendship.”
He added their assistance in
the fight against Covid-19 in South Africa was one of several ways the two countries
have partnered, saying it was not the first time Cuba had sent a medical
brigade to assist southern Africa.
“Another important part of
this legacy is establishment of the Nelson Mandela Fidel Castro Medical
Training Programme, which has seen thousands of young South Africans receiving
medical training in Cuba, equipping them to make positive contributions to the
health system in South Africa.
“We are pleased to join
hands with you as we overcome the war that has been waged by this pandemic,”