Cuban doctors instrumental in KZN's Covid-19 fight, says health MEC

KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu
KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Cuban health experts based at  KwaZulu-Natal's Covid-19 facilities have been instrumental in the fight against the pandemic in the province, health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said.

Speaking during a health department webinar on Wednesday, Simelane-Zulu said the province had a shortage of epidemiologists and the Cubans were able to fill a gap. The department invited experts in the field of virology to engage with the public to answer burning questions about vaccines, vaccinations and immunity during the virtual engagement.

Epidemiology is a branch of medical science where experts search for the cause of disease, identify people who are at risk, determine how to control or stop the spread or prevent it from happening again, a skill that is crucial in dealing with a novel virus like Covid-19.

KwaZulu-Natal was allocated 28 Cuban health professionals from the 217 deployed to the country by the Cuban government to help in the fight against Covid-19 in June.

“We distributed all the 26 health professionals from Cuba in the 11 districts that we have in the province. Every district has one or two other Cuban doctors helping, particularly in the facilities we have termed Covid-19 facilities,” she said.

The MEC said the department was satisfied with the Cuban doctors' contribution to the fight against Covid-19.

“We have benefited as a province in the work that they have done and continue to do. Some of the specialists in the group were epidemiologists, of which we did not have a lot of in the province, and they have assisted us. They also do not mind being sent to different regions, including the rural parts of the province,” she said.

She said while the province has seen a drop in active Covid-19 cases, the department would not pre-empt whether the province has passed the peak as scientists were still working on answers.

“What we need to indicate is that the number of infections in the past four or five days has dramatically gone down. Whether this is us being past the peak or just a slump for a couple of days we are not sure — but as soon as we have the proper scientific research we will speak on that,” she added.

Simelane-Zulu warned people not to let their guard down.

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