Cuba deploys medical brigade to help South Africa fight coronavirus

Cuban health specialists | Image; Elmond Jiyane / GCIS

The health giant, Cuba has deployed a medical brigade to assist South African health professionals in the fight against COVID-19 following a formal request from the South African government.

The team of 217 health workers is made up of diverse expertise ranging from, community health experts, infectious disease specialists, epidemiologists, public health experts, general practitioners and healthcare technology engineers.

As part of the process, the team is expected to remain in quarantine for a period of two weeks to clear themselves from any possible infection which could be transferred to the people they deal with if not checked.

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Cuban President Fidel Castro speaks to South African President Nelson Mandela at the World Trade Organization in Geneva in 1998. (Patrick Aviolat/European Pressphoto Agency)

Currently, South Africa is one of the African countries that recorded the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases so far with 4,361 cases and at least 86 deaths. The country is expanding its testing and treatment capacities hence the need for more expert hands on deck.

South Africa is not the first country to benefit from the services of Cuba in managing coronavirus. Since the outbreak, Cuba has deployed well-trained doctors to Italy, Brazil, Venezuela, Togo, Cap Verde, Angola among others.

Prior to the emergence of COVID-19, Cuba has been very instrumental on the African continent. Their team of well-trained Doctors were in the frontline of fighting Ebola in West Africa in 2013.

Apart from medical support, the Cuban government has since been a friend to Africa. The country helped South Africa during the racist apartheid system. Cuba once sent its army to prevent the imperialist invasion of Southern Africa, today they’re still sending Doctors. Additionally, Cuba supported the continent with soldiers, doctors and teachers when post-colonial Africa was at its most vulnerable state.