08/19/13 - Cuba Standard (Tampa) - Cuba expands medical program in South Africa
CUBA STANDARD - As part of its efforts to diversify for-pay medical service
exports, Cuba is nearly doubling its for-pay medical program in South
Africa, a Cuban health ministry official announced.
The number of Cuban doctors working in the African country under a
bilateral program will grow from 119 to 213 within the next three months,
Alex Carreras Pons, head of the cooperation delegation of Cuba's Ministry
of Public Health (Minsap) in South Africa, told Prensa Latina.
In a rare mention of the amounts Cuba receives for medical services abroad,
the official news agency quoted Carreras Pons as saying that Cuba collected
$3 billion for the export of medical services and pharmaceutical products.
The article didn't say how much Cuba charges South Africa for medical
The South African health ministry is struggling to find enough doctors to
work in the expanding public health system. Half of South Africa's medical
graduates emigrate to countries like Canada or join the private sector.
Based on a bilateral healthcare cooperation agreement signed in 1995, the
first Cuban doctors began arriving in South Africa in 1996, to fill a
skills shortage in state hospitals and in rural and under-served areas.
Cuba also increased the number of scholarships for South African medical
students in Cuba from 60 to 80. However, most of the South African medical
students in Cuba pay their own way or get scholarships from the South
African government. Cuba received $10 million for the medical studies of
South Africans on the island in 2012, Carreras Pons said.
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