More than 200 doctors from Cuba are due to arrive in South Africa to help fight coronavirus.
The medics left on a plane that first carried a donation of South African medical supplies to the Caribbean island, its embassy in Pretoria said.
They are among 1,200 healthcare workers sent to battle Covid-19 in 22 countries that have requested help from the communist state.
Cuba is well known for its medical diplomacy, though it has not been without controversy.
The US government under President Donald Trump has urged countries not to accept Cuban medical missions, accusing the country of exploiting its medics – allegations Havana denies.
Cuba, with 1,337 recorded cases of Covid-19 and 51 deaths, has the world’s highest ratio of doctors to population and began preparing for the virus early.
According to the Reuters news agency, it is renowned for its focus on prevention and community-orientated primary health care to fight epidemics.
Covid-19 (Coronavirus) news from BBC