MoH gets $1m to facilitate Cuban medical volunteers

  • January 22, 2010
Dr Richard Sezibera receives the cheque from Ambassador Gladstone Dumisani Gwadiso.

The South African government has donated$ 1 million towards the facilitation of Cuban volunteer specialist doctors working in the country.

South African Ambassador Gladstone Dumisani Gwadiso handed over the cheque to Health Minister Dr. Richard Sezibera in the presence of the Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Eugene Munyakayanza.

The money is meant to facilitate the work of 31 Cuban medical volunteers who have been in the country for a year.

Dr. Sezibera thanked the South African and Cuban governments for what he termed as a “unique cooperation” arrangement to assist Rwanda.

“I think it is a unique cooperation agreement, a unique example of the south to south cooperation which shows that a lot can be done if countries put their energies together,” the minister said.

“We are very happy for the work being done by the Cuban medical brigade in availing to our people special medical care. They serve beyond their call of duty”.

 “There is a need to have a bond that should never be broken, and I believe no country can enjoy democracy without the presence of basic needs, and this is one of them,” the South African envoy stressed.

Speaking to The New Times thereafter, Dr. Maria Amalia Pato, the head of the Cuban doctors, underscored that she was grateful for the “tripartite cooperation between South Africa, Rwanda and Cuba.”

She noted that for the five years her country’s doctors have been coming to help out in Rwanda, the cooperation has matured from a mere project to concrete reality.

“We thank the Ministry of Health for giving us the opportunity to work with them – and we thank the South African Embassy for providing logistical support,” she added.

According to Dr. Pato, her colleagues have treated approximately 461,000 patients today.

David Lazaro, a Cuban oncologist based at King Faisal Hospital says he has travelled all over the country, treating cancer patients.


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