Black and Latino American medical school graduates in Cuba explained that studying medicine costs $200,000 dollars in the United States, adding that they also have to face discrimination there. On the island, training is not only excellent – it’s also free
HAVANA, JULY 24— Eight American medical students who graduated from the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) in Cuba said that their training there was a wonderful experience from the academic and human points of view.
"This is a dream come true, the dream of becoming doctors and helping people in need, helping those people who, like ourselves, don’t have enough money to access expensive health care services," said the graduates in statements to national and foreign press.
They explained that studying medicine in the United States costs $200,000 dollars, and that as minorities they also have to face discriminations. In Cuba, training is not only excellent, but it is also free.
"Once we are back in our country," they said, "we will have to take the required tests to confirm our capabilities and to begin our residency programs. In a period of three years we will be able to join the national healthcare system. Graduates coming from Cuba are usually welcome due to the high levels of training received on the island."
Reverend Lucius Walker, head of the Pastors for Peace Inter-religious Foundation for Community Organization, highlighted the efforts made by the Cuban Ministry of Health and the ELAM to train youths from over 20 countries, including the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.
Walker pointed out that the members of the Pastors for Peace ecumenical project are both honoured and grateful for the scholarships that Cuba grants to low-income people.
The minister said that 100 Americans are currently studying at ELAM, and that 18 more will be arriving in Cuba by August to take part in the remarkable program designed by the Cuban government.
Walker ruled out the possibility of the US government making reprisals against the doctors graduating in Cuba, and he added that this program is supported by the US Congress and the Department of Education, which sees to graduates abroad.
The Pastors for Peace leader is heading the 28th Solidarity Caravan that arrived last Thursday in Havana. This time, the caravan will dedicate its activities in Cuba to the elderly, for whom they brought 90 tons of donations that include surgical materials, X-ray equipment, walking canes and other materials. (AIN)
CUBA Graduates 2 470 New Doctors
Havana, July 24 (acn) Cuban Health Minister Jose Ramon Balaguer described the graduation on Tuesday of 2,470 new doctors from Cuba and a host of other nations as the practical expression of the ideas of President Fidel Castro.
The evening’s graduation from the Higher Institute of Medical Sciences in Havana included the third graduating class of the Havana-based Latin American School of Medicine, with over 1,800 doctors including eight physicians from the United States receiving their diplomas.
Nationwide, Cuba graduated a total of 8,884 medical professionals this year from various nations as doctors, dentists, nurses and health technicians, said Balaguer.
The public health minister further noted that at present 53,000 young people from Cuba and 88 other countries are taking medical courses in Cuba, while Cuban specialists are training other students in their respective nations.
At the same time, Cuban doctors are currently assisting 60 million people around the world, the Health Minister, he added.
Reverend Lucius Walker, founder of the Pastors for Peace organization, called the graduation a significant and unprecedented world event.
The US graduates, as many Latin American youths who have become doctors at the Cuban school, plan to return to their country and provide health care in poor neighbourhoods and communities.
"Cuba offered us full scholarships to study medicine here. In exchange, we commit ourselves to go back to our communities to provide health care to underserved people," said Carmen Landau, 30, of Oakland, California as quoted by Reuters news agency.
“We have studied medicine with a humanitarian approach,” said Kenya Bingham, 29, of Alameda, California. She added that "health care is not seen as a business in Cuba. When you are sick, they are not going to try to charge you or turn you away if you don't have insurance," she said.
“The future is ours, The Americas and Africa are waiting for us,” said Chilean graduate Katia Millarai Rivera as she spoke on behalf of all foreign graduates.
The ceremony, held at Havana’s Karl Marx Theater, was also attended by Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage and other Cuban Communist Party Politburo members including Jose Ramon Machado Ventura and Concepcion Campa.
http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu/2007/07/27/nacional/artic01.html (Speech by the First Vice-President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, at the main celebration of the 54th Anniversary of the attack on Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Garrisons...)
http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu/secciones/reflexiones/esp-007.html (Fidel reflections...)