Nearly 500 South African Medical Students Stranded in Cuba

The South African government is reported to have failed to pay stipends to medical students based in Cuba for months. Just less than 500 medical students are said to be left without means in the foreign country.


The South African medical students based in Cuba are reported to be left without basic essentials. Reports states that its been months since the Department of Health failed to address the disastrous situation.

Some students who spoke under the condition of anonymity revealed that, they have to survive through borrowing money from other students.

Its reported that students haven’t been paid since May which is about two months ago without food and essentials.

The students where due to come back home on the 24 & 25 of July according to government reports as many of them completed their first-year studies. Some of the students are said to have been trapped in Cuba for five years.  

The students are now pleading with the South African government to speed up the process of their safe return.

The South African Medical association (SAMA) spokesperson, Dr Mvuyisi Mzukwa says they are concerned about situation.

We are really concerned about those students in Cuba who are stranded there and could not come back to the country. We understand that there are issues of Covid-19 and the students saying the department must pay the stipends from May. These are young people stranded in the foreign country.

Dr Mzukwa can’t confirm if the students were paid on the 28 July as it was reported, saying the matter still needs to be discussed urgently.

SAMA stated that they hope the incident is not seen as the attitude of the government that they don’t care about their own students.

Dr Mzukwa said its up to the Department of Health to prove whether the allegations of negligence are true or not.

SAMA spokesperson said the students didn’t go there on their own, the government should have made sure that they are well looked after.

He said that its easy for the government to fly doctors from Cuba to South Africa, why can’t it be easy to fly their own students.

While the medical students sent by the government to Cuba cry for help, the government remains undecided as they still need to discuss a way forward.


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