Eastern Cape Premier, Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane welcomed 20 Cuban doctors deployed to fight Covid19 in the Eastern Cape earlier this month.
In a speech peppered with Spanish phrases, the Premier welcomed the “army of white coats” from Cuba and referred to South Africa’s long shared history with that country.
“You have come to lend a helping hand in what is one of the biggest fights of our lives since the Spanish Flu, a fight against an invisible enemy that is threatening to wipe the world out,” he told them.
Mabuyane said the Eastern Cape’s approach to Covid-19 was four pronged and focused on:
- Containing the virus;
- Investing in sustainable solutions;
- Protecting the vulnerable and the poor; and
- Rejuvenating the provincial economy and securing the future.
“We are hard at work renovating hospitals, building new wards, turning stadiums into field hospitals, isolation facilities while VWSA has also come on board and is turning its unused plant in Port Elizabeth into a 4000-bed field hospital,” Mabuyane said. “We have ensured that we buy personal protective equipment so that our medical staff who have been in the frontline in this fight are protected at all material times.
“We have also embarked on mass screening and testing of people as we want to know exactly how many people have been infected in the province.
“We took a conscious decision to test as many people as possible so that those who test positive for the coronavirus will get the medical help they need before they become sick.
Mabuyane said the Province needed all the help it could get.
“Having you here will go a long way in helping us turn the tide against this virus,” he said.
Mabuyane said since its revolution in 1959 under Fidel Castro, Cuba had distinguished itself as a country that practiced the values of internationalism and humanitarianism.
He referred to Cubas role in South Africa’s liberation struggle and spoke of how Cuban forces had helped “stop the spread of the apartheid virus in Southern Africa”. And he slammed the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for insinuating that South Africa should not accept assistance from Cuba.
Mabuyane noted the establishment of the SA- Cuban Medical Collaboration Programme in 1996 and said more than 800 South African students – all from poor households and many of them from the Eastern Cape, had received “the best” medical training in Cuba.
Referring to the outcry about the R444 million cost of having the Cuban doctors in South Africa, Mabuyane said, “We are not placing monetary value on human life. We will preserve human life not matter what it will cost us.”
The doctors would be working in Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City where infection numbers were escalating.
List of Cuban doctor delegation deployed to Eastern Cape:
|NO.||SURNAME AND INITIALS||QUALIFICATIONS||OCCUPATION|
|1||Dr Yoel Antonio Milanes Lopez||Doctor of Medicine/Family Physician||Medical Officer Grade 2|
|2||Dr Yoanna Galzagorry Vega||Doctor of Medicine||Medical Officer Grade 2|
|3||Dr Virgen Maria Licor Cruz||Doctor of Medicine/Family Physician||Medical Officer Grade 2|
|4||Dr Alcides Viltres Remon||Doctor of Medicine/Family Physician||Medical Officer Grade 2|
|5||Dr Yovankia Albriza Camellon||Doctor of Medicine/Family Physician||Medical Officer Grade 2|
|6||Dr Yasser Amores Marin||Doctor in Medicine/General Medicine||Medical Officer Grade 2|
|7||Dr Yaquelin Pineiro Gonzalez||Doctor of Medicine/General Medicine||Medical Officer Grade 2|
|8||Dr Carlos Estopinan Ribalta||Doctor of Medicine/General Medicine||Medical Officer Grade 2|
|9||Dr Mario Jesus Exposito Perez||Doctor in Medicine/General Medicine||Medical Officer Grade 2|
|10||Dr Yordan Armando Martinez Rodriguez||Doctor in Medicine/General Medicine||Medical Officer Grade 2|
|11||Dr Zoila Caridad Tati Nelson||Doctor in Medicine/General Medicine||Medical Officer Grade 2|
|12||Dayamely Regia Acosta Cruz||Doctor in Medicine/General Medicine||Medical Officer Grade 2|
|13||Ana Yury Viltre Marcheco||Information Management||Biostatician|
|14||Adiarys Gonzalez Alfonso||Information Management||Biostatician|
|15||Alexander Verdecia Tamayo||Hygiene and Epidemiology||Hygiene and Epidemiology|
|16||Alier Quintana Serrano||Hygiene and Epidemiology||Hygiene and Epidemiology|
|17||Diego Hernandez Ariosa||Biomedical Engineer||Biomedical Engineer|
|18||Luis Yendry Medina Bignotte||Biomedical Engineer||Biomedical Engineer|
|19||Reynier Zayas Dominguez||Biomedical Engineer||Biomedical Engineer|
|20||Idalberto Gerardo Rivero Napoles||Biomedical Engineer||Biomedical Engineer|