Cuban help does not come cheap, plus 5 highlights from 'Vrye Weekblad'
Here's what's hot in the latest edition of the Afrikaans digital weekly
The Cuban medical brigade, that is costing SA R440m while local doctors are sitting at home, were all quarantined before coming to the country.
They were tested for the virus upon arrival and were moved to the Sierra Burgers Park Hotel in Pretoria for their local quarantine.
A reliable source told Vrye Weekblad this week that 23 of the 217 Cuban medical experts have tested positive for Sars-CoV-2.
Medical experts are one of Cuba's most lucrative export products. According to news magazine Time they bring in about $11bn per year for the country. Currently, more than 50,000 Cuban doctors are working in 67 countries, and specifically for the Covid-19 pandemic, they have been deployed to 23 countries.
The salaries they earn in foreign countries are not completely their own. According to reports, the Cuban government takes 60% to 90% of it.
Why do they do the work then? Because it is still better pay than the $30 per month that other Cubans earn.
Read more on this and other corona-related news and analysis in this week's edition of Afrikaans digital weekly Vrye Weekblad.
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Dr Angelique Coetzee, chairperson of the Medical Association of SA, says the first question we have to ask ourselves regarding the Cuban deployment, is whether we need then now if the peak of the epidemic is only expected to hit in September.
Secondly, she says, there is no opposition to the Cuban medical experts themselves. The issue is that the government did not consult the largest body representing doctors in SA before bringing them in.
“The money we are spending on them could have been better spent to first employ local doctors with the necessary knowledge and willingness to work, especially in rural areas. There are many out-of-work doctors and other medical staff in the country and private doctors who are willing to step in,” she said.
*Vrye Weekblad sent a list of questions to the health department regarding the matter in general and the Cubans who tested positive, specifically, but got no answers.
Read the full article in this week's Vrye Weekblad
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