Cuba Remembers Nelson Mandela with the Graduation of 703 Medical Students from South Africa

By Lisandra Romeo Matos on July 5, 2018

Photo: Omar Garcia Maderos

On the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela, the historic leader of South Africa, was remembered on Wednesday in Havana with the graduation of 703 South African medical students from the Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine.

Cuba’s First Vice President of the Council of States and Ministers Salvador Valdes Mesa, Health Minister Roberto Morales Ojeda and the Minister of the South African Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma headed the ceremony.

During the activity, which served to remember “Madiba”, the dear friend of the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, the Dean of the University of Medical Sciences in Havana, Luis Alberto Pichs Garcia, highlighted Mandela’s life and work as a legacy for the next generation in Third World countries.

Thanks to the extraordinary fraternity of both leaders and the warmth of their international solidarity and cooperation, the South African Medical Training Program in Cuba was created in 1997 after an agreement of cooperation was reached between both Health Ministries to begin the project, said Pichs Garcia.The program has enrolled 2,860 young South Africans during that time to the present.

The Dean explained that once the student concludes a five-year training program in Cuba, they will continue their training in educational centers in their country to complete their preparation with the specific characteristics of the South African health system.

He highlighted the successful systematic exchanges since 2001 in bilateral academic meetings between universities and Health Ministries allowing an exchange of experiences, information related to study plans and educational methods among other aspects.

Pichs Garcia underscored that the Program is a symbol of the strong ties of friendship and excellent level of cooperation between Havana and Pretoria.

Grateful for Cuba’s important contribution to the South African health system, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma mentioned that this initiative changed the reality of her country’s health after being able to provide medical professionals to be able to cover rural and isolated areas and facilitating access to people of lesser economic resources.

The South African Minister to the President also praised the historic ties and struggle between the two nations, recognizing the people of Cuba and its government for supporting the program, which has graduated over 1,500 health care professionals from the African nation.

On behalf of the graduates, Yola Yandisa Rorwana expressed their eternal gratitude to Fidel and Mandela for their vision in creating and expanding the enrollment capacity of the in 2012.

She also thanked the Cuban Ministry of Health, the University of Medical Sciences and its faculties and professors who taught them the skills and necessary knowledge for their future.

Source: Radio Rebelde