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Mkhize welcomes WHO Surge Team to SA to help with COVID-19 pandemic

A team of about 43 experts from around the globe would assist the country refine its efforts against the pandemic.

From L-R: Dr Owen Kaluwa WHO Representative to SA, Nardos B Thomas UN Resident Co-ordinator, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, Dr Matshidiso Moeti WHO Regional Director for Africa, and Deputy Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla. Picture: @DrZweliMkhize/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize on Friday welcomed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Surge Team in the country, saying that he was certain that they would find motivated, resilient and tenacious people to work with to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The minister spoke at a special welcoming ceremony for the team at the Sheraton Pretoria in Pretoria where WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gave a brief virtual address.

A team of about 43 experts from around the globe will assist the country to refine its efforts against the pandemic.

Mkhize thanked the WHO for its efforts, recalling all the times it had been of assistance to South Africa.

“The work of battling a pandemic does not begin and end and therefore we will be encouraging fluidity and agility and welcome the fact that they will be looking at our situation with fresh eyes and may be able to identify or offer a perspective we might not have considered,” Mkhize said.

“We appreciate the support from WHO. We look forward to a time when we can say we did it, united,” he added.

He said that through its efforts the global health body had become more relevant and its role was more apparent to South Africans.

“While the WHO’s name was well known and trusted, it was not part of everyday conversation. Now the WHO is part of our work language, our dinner conversations, our social media bender, and a lot of arguments,” Mkhize said.

Ghebreyesus commended President Cyril Ramaphosa for his efforts in the fight against COVID-19 both in his role as African Union (AU) chairperson and head of state.

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