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NEHAWU Welcomes The Signing Of The Extension Of The Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement On Health Between Cuba and South Africa

Wednesday March 6, 2019

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] welcomes the signing of the extension of the Intergovernmental Cooperation agreement on health between South Africa and Cuba yesterday, in Havana yesterday.

The agreement was signed by the Cuban Minister of Health, Dr Jorge Portal Miranda and our Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi to renew for the next five year the bilateral cooperation agreement on health between the two countries. 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.

This agreement is recognised internationally as evidence of the potential and benefits of the South-South Cooperation. Currently, more than 1500 South African doctors have graduated from Cuban universities while about 2800 young people are currently studying medicine in Cuba. After the signing of this extension of the agreement, more than 100 communities in 8 provinces will benefit from medical attention from Cuban doctors.

With the imminent implementation of the National Health Insurance [NHI] the country needs more doctors and specialised skills to ensure that the public has access to primary healthcare. The national union believes in the Cuban approach of preventative health which promotes healthy lifestyle rather than reacting to sickness. For the NHI to succeed the country needs to accelerate the training of new doctors and ensure that we have enough doctors to cater for our health needs.

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat

Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968;
December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969;
Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU Media Liaison Officer) at 082 455 2500 or
email: Visit NEHAWU website:

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