South Africa and Cuba have maintained longstanding diplomatic relations since 1994, which resulted in various Bilateral Agreements between the two countries on public health including the training of South African medical students.
Cuba was South Africa’s country of choice to train young aspirant students from disadvantaged communities mainly due to their impressive health indicators, which is based on their successful implementation of the Primary Health Care (PHC) model. South Africa adopted this model of healthcare for the prevention of diseases and promotion of health during the new dispensation.
The outcome of this Nelson Mandela/Fidel Castro (NMFC) Medical Collaboration Programme evidenced by the increasing number of graduates since its inception in 1996, has assisted to improve access to qualified health professionals who serve in the most under-resourced parts of the country.
The NMFC Medical Collaboration Programme is supported by local universities, namely; Stellenbosch, University of Cape Town(UCT), SMU, Wits University, University of Pretoria, Walter Sisulu Unversity, University of KwaZulu - Natal(UKZN) as well as universities of Free State Uni and Limpopo, through their participation in the integration of Cuban-trained students in the South African health system.