Cuban health professionals who were seconded to various health institutions in the country under the Cuba-Zimbabwe bilateral agreement have hailed the country’s health system.The Cuban doctors and nurses who have been in the country since 2014 and have now completed their mission, left the country for Havana, to make way for another team of 40. In an interview before their departure, the health professionals said Zimbabwe’s health system had potential to offer quality and effective health care services to its citizens.
A nurse who was stationed at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, Mr Luis Alfredo Bestot Palma, said he was impressed with the country’s health system, although there were a few adjustments that needed to be effected. Mr Palma said his experience working as a nurse in Zimbabwe was characterised by unity and engagement with local nurses and staff, as well as the patients. He pointed out differences in how the Cuban health system worked as compared to Zimbabwe.
“There are a few adjustments with how Zimbabwe operates on its health system, but the experience has been very good and we worked as a family,” he said. “In Cuba, health care is for free, while in Zimbabwe it is free only for infants and senior citizens.”
Dr Felix Tancy, who was stationed at Chitungwiza General Hospital as a gynaecology specialist, said Zimbabwe was moving in the right direction in offering free health care for its citizens, in line with global trends. His remarks follow the scrapping of medical fees on all pregnant women, infants and senior citizens by Government. Dr Tancy said in 2016 alone, he served 245 pregnant women from which he lost only two.
“This is what we have been sharing with our Zimbabwean counterparts on how best to minimise casualties in health care provision,” said Dr Tancy. The Cuban health practitioners praised Zimbabwe for being a wonderful nation, sharing their experience outside the working environment and thanking citizens for showing love, care and support.
“We hope for the best and wonderful future for Zimbabwe in the health system and we will never forget you,” said Dr Felix Villalon, who was stationed at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo. Leader of the new team, who is already in the country, Dr Barbara Maria Reina, expressed hope that Cuba-Zimbabwe bilateral agreement will continue to improve the lives of Zimbabwean people.
“I am expecting to improve the way of life of the population relating to health and to advocate for excellent medical services,” she said. “We have specialists well prepared for that and will be sharing experiences with the Zimbabwean specialists and looking forward to working with love and unity.”
The group of health professionals, which has just completed its mission comprised of doctors of different specialties and nurses who were stationed at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare, Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo and Chitungwiza Central Hospital.