Local medical student dies in Cuba

A 24-YEAR-OLD medical student from KwaNzimakwe near Port Edward is one of two people who drowned in a swimming pool in Cuba nearly two weeks ago.

The Department of Health said fourth-year student Sibusiso Ngeleka (24), attended a birthday party at a private house in Cuba’s capital city Havana with friends.

It is alleged that at some point he and another student, Cebo Makhaye, decided to go out to the swimming pool. “When they did not return, their friends started a frantic search for them,” read the statement from the department. After Makhaye was discovered in the pool, he was rushed to hospital, but died on the way. The group then continued the search for Ngeleka, but he was also found in the pool, already dead.

The bodies are due to be repatriated back home this week after post-mortems are concluded in Cuba.

While visiting the family to offer his condolences last Wednesday, the MEC for Health Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo said Ngeleka’s death is difficult for him as he knew the student personally and previously spoke to him on numerous occasions to resolve certain problems regarding his studies.

Dhlomo said the death of any medical student is always sad and a setback for the affected families, community and the country.

“When these children are recruited into this programme, we prioritise those who are academically bright, but who also come from poor homes that cannot afford to pay for their studies.

“When they get into the programme, we then expect them to complete their studies, graduate and come back to help the country to address the shortage of doctors.

“They are expected to return and serve the communities they come from.

“We are therefore here to give words of comfort to the family, and assure them they are not alone at this difficult time,” said Dhlomo.