In July, 1,000 more South African medical students who have spent five years studying medicine in Cuba will return to complete their sixth year, graduate and start practising as doctors. If I had my way, I would send them all to the Eastern Cape, train them for their final year and employ them in the province once they graduate. These are precisely the kinds of doctors needed throughout the province and country, because Cuba’s excellent medical schools pursue a comprehensive approach that focuses equally on the four pillars of medicine — disease prevention, health promotion, treatment and rehabilitative medicine. The Cuban system produces well-rounded specialist family physicians who are appropriately trained for South Africans’ medical and health needs. They are trained to practise in diverse communities, from the cities to the deep rural areas. The system also produces super-specialists, such as Dr Khanyisa Makamba, who was among the first cohort of South Africans to be trained in...

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