Pretoria, South Africa.- A group of 87 South African doctors who have studied in Cuba the first five years of their major graduated in the province of Eastern Cape, as part of the bilateral program established since the 1990s.

Sources from the Department, Ministry, of Health of South Africa indicated on Sunday that this is the largest group of graduates since the beginning of the Medical Collaboration Program agreed upon by late p1residents Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro in 1996.

According to a statement from the State agency, from that moment on, 731 South African doctors trained on Cuba have been serving in public hospitals in South Africa throughout the country.

South Africa, he adds, believes that this is a great boost that will strengthen medical care in this nation and also represents a success of the National Health Insurance, a flagship plan that aims to change the quality, efficiency and validity of the national system by ensuring access to these services without taking into account the socio-economic conditions of the patients.

The note explains that Cuba was chosen for the training of South African doctors because of the success of its model of primary health care, which supports universal coverage, which remains the goal of this country.

Dr. Joe Phaahla, Vice Minister of Health and the head of the Eastern Cape government, Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane, presided over the ceremony of this 16th graduation, in which the rector of the University of Medical Sciences of Havana, Dr. Luis Alberto Pisch, delivered the degrees to graduates.

Phaahla pointed out that many South African doctors favored by this study program in Cuba are specialists of different modalities and highlighted in particular a doctor from the province of Eastern Cape who became the first female cardiothoracic surgeon in the African continent.

This health agreement between South Africa and Cuba was founded as part of this country’s attempts to complement and increase the number of medical professionals, a goal that appears among the nine priorities of the National Development Plan for 2030, adds the statement from the Department of Health.