SAMA: Deployment of Cuban doctors premature, political

SAMA: Deployment of Cuban doctors premature, political

The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has described the deployment of 217 Cuban doctors as a premature political move by the government.

Cuban medical brigade

The Cuban medical brigade landed in the country ahead of Freedom Day and will assist the government in its battle to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The group will be quarantined for two weeks in Pretoria before being deployed. 

"It is a political decision that was made without any consultation with medical associations, says SAMA chairperson Angelique Coetzee. 

“SAMA has more than 60 000 members and we think it would be prudent during this time to meet with us for an opinion whether we know retired doctors who can assist instead of bringing people from the outside." 

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She says South African doctors and healthcare workers are doing an excellent job in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

"There is a lot of money being spent to bring the Cuban brigade here for the next year. If one looks at the money spent, we could again rope in the retired doctors because we have a lot. Only when we need expertise from outside, and we run out of doctors, we can bring in help from outside.”

Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Health has welcomed the deployment of the Cuban team.

Chairperson Dr. Sibongiseni Dhlomo says the brigade won't be replacing the skills in the country - but will be adding on to them. 

"You'd realise for this outbreak to be taken care of we need the specialists all over. Now our own specialists including private and public  would prefer to be in other centres. The doctors coming in from Cuba, some of them have no preference, in fact alot of them do work and support far distant, rural part of Cuba." 

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