The South African government will pay more than R239m in salaries for the 187 members of the Cuban medical brigade, who, according to Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize, are specialists in areas in which South Africa has shortages.
News24 reports that DA MP Siviwe Gwarube asked for more information on the Cuban doctors, who arrived in South Africa to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic amid much fanfare on 27 April. "These are qualified in biostatisticians, epidemiologists, family physicians and health technologists," he said.
The contingent includes the following: 116 family physicians, whose salaries total R172,767.798; 32 health technologists, whose salaries total R25,941,166; 18 epidemiology technologists, whose salaries total R14 ,715,735; 13 biostatisticians, whose salaries total R19,566,449; 5 biomedical engineers, whose salaries total R2,773,887; 2 public health specialists, whose salaries total R2,231,276; and 1 nurse, whose salary is R528,852. This brings the total salaries to R239,181,933.
"The estimated budget cost is informed by actual appointment levels of the Cuban Health Brigade as determined by their Registration category, which took into consideration years of experience. All the Family Physicians and Biostatisticians are appointed at Grade 2 of Medical Officer level and Epidemiology Technologists/ Health Technology and Public Health Specialists are at Deputy Director level while Biomedical Engineers are at ASD level," reads Mkhize's explanation on how the salaries were calculated.
News24 reports that the government also shelled out R734,100 for the brigade's registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), but this will be recovered. "It is a norm that the registration cost is paid by an individual health professional to the Council. However, as per the Government-to-Government Agreement, the South African (government) pays the fee to the HPCSA and, thereafter, deduct the full amount of registration from the individual health professionals' first salary. This means there is no actual cost to be incurred by the South African government, however, it is a convenient process arranged to ensure that all of the professionals are registered accordingly," Mkhize's answer explained.
Mkhize said most provinces have entered into agreements with service providers to accommodate the medical personnel for 12 months.Full News24 report