The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] welcomes the deployment of a Cuban medical brigade to South Africa to assist in the efforts against COVID-19. The brigade will be landing in the country tomorrow [Sunday April 26, 2020].

The South African government requested assistance from the Cuban government in containing and arresting the spread of the novel coronavirus. The Cuban government has decided to deploy 217 Cuban Health Professionals which include amongst others Family Physicians, Epidemiologist, Biostatistics, Healthcare Technology Engineers, Biotechnology Experts and specialists who have been carefully selected to assist South Africa in fighting the coronavirus. We call on all South Africans to cooperate and work hand in hand with the Cubans, share experiences and expertise during their stay in the country.

The assistance of Cubans who are armed with extensive knowledge and experience on health related interventions is going to be a shot in the arm for our efforts to stem the tide against new infections. With the new infections growing at an alarming rate the Cuban brigade could not have come at a better time. The coronavirus has caused unprecedented damages to the economy coupled with an unacceptable number of deaths, job losses, and loss of personal income of millions of our people. 

Currently, Cuba has 21 brigades of healthcare professionals that have been deployed to join in the national and local efforts of 20 countries. This is a humble contribution from a small island with limited resources and a victim of the illegal economic, commercial and financial blockade by the United States of America [USA]. Even the World Health Organisation [WHO] has recognised Cuba’s extensive experience in the development of international cooperation in the area of health.

The Cubans are currently training our future doctors through the Mandela-Castro Initiative and we are looking forward to their return to the country to plough back what they have learnt during their training in Cuba. NEHAWU continues to advocate for the extension of the initiative as a legacy of both Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro and as a vehicle to assist with the shortages of doctors in our healthcare system. 

NEHAWU once more calls on the USA under the Trump administration to lift the illegal blockade against Cuba with immediate effect. 

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat

Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968; December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969; Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU National Spokesperson) at 082 455 2500 or email: