The Eastern Cape will send 25 students to study medicine in Cuba this year, the provincial health department said on Saturday.

Health MEC Sicelo Gqobana made the announcement during Cuban public health minister Roberto Morales Ojeda's visit to the province, spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said

The Cuban minister's visit was part of strengthening relations between South Africa and Cuba in the medical field.

Cuba has in the past trained doctors from rural areas in South Africa especially in primary health care.

Some of these students were from poor households in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape who had obtained excellent academic results and had an interest in the medical profession, said Kupelo.

Cuba had an excellent model in medical training.

Kupelo said the Cuban minister was also in the province to strengthen clinical research and development which the two countries would undertake together. - Sapa