15 Cuban specialist doctors arrive Some of the Cuban specialist doctors on arrival at the Robert Mugabe International Airport in Harare yesterday. - Picture: Justin Mutenda

Rejoice Makoni

Herald Correspondent

A Cuban medical team of 15 specialist doctors arrived in Zimbabwe yesterday for a three-year working sojourn as part of co-operation in the medical sector between the two countries.

The delegation was received at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport by officials from the Ministry of Health and Child Care and Cuban Chargé d’ Affaires to Zimbabwe Mrs Yoisy Ford Garcia and her team.

In an interview,  Mrs Garcia said the doctors would be stationed in Government hospitals countrywide.

“The specialist doctors are in the country as part of a long-standing bilateral agreement between Cuba and Zimbabwe that has existed for more than four decades. The Cuban medical brigade will assist in health delivery across Zimbabwe and will share experiences with their Zimbabwean counterparts,” said Mrs Garcia.

She said the medical brigade had specialist doctors and electro medics, bio medical engineers, special clinicians and legal specialists.

Ministry of Health and Child Care chief director human resources and administration Dr Simon Nyadundu said the country’s health sector would benefit immensely from the medical brigade.

“Zimbabwe has been receiving medical specialists from Cuba since 1980. We are very happy as the ministry that we received a brigade of 15 specialists who are going to be working in our central hospitals.

“Their visit is very significant to us because it will improve our heath delivery system particularly in the bio medical engineering department where they will be assisting in the repairing of machines,” said Dr Nyadundu.

Zimbabwe has been facing a shortage of medical specialists resulting in high costs of specialist care.

This has resulted in some patients in the public sector requiring specialist services to seek assistance out of the country, where services are easily available, but more costly..

The relationship between Zimbabwe and Cuba dates back to the days of the liberation struggle and in 1978 former President Robert Mugabe visited Cuba.

The then Cuban leader, the late Cde Fidel Castro pledged to open an office of the Cuban Ambassador to ZANU in Maputo, which he did in order to keep abreast of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.

A number of science teachers have also been sent to Cuba for training while Cuban doctors are seconded to the country’s central and district hospitals in Harare, Marondera, Chinhoyi and Bulawayo and Gweru from time to time.

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