New Zealand and Cuba sign agreement for medical cooperation in Pacific Islands

Screen shot 2015-02-19 at 7.53.27 AMNew Zealand has signed a cooperation arrangement with Cuba to support Cuban medical assistance in the Pacific islands. The document was signed on Feb. 13 by Craig Hawke, Acting Chief Executive of the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ambassador of Cuba Maria del Carmen Herrera Caseiro. The two sides described the agreement as an important step in the sustained engagement of relations between the two countries.

The Cuban diplomat described the agreement as a milestone in the improving bilateral ties between the two countries. She mentioned the reciprocal visits of the two Foreign Ministers and the progress being made in bilateral cooperation. The official dialogue between New Zealand and Cuba followed by exchange of views on topics of mutual interest has been significant developments, the Cuban ambassador noted, according to, the website of Cuba’s Foreign Ministry.

“The signing of this arrangement constitutes a concrete and tangible result of the interest and both parts are strengthening the relations of cooperation and friendship in a convincing commitment to support sustainable development in the Pacific region,” said the ambassador, who reaffirmed the willingness to deepen the cooperation through joint initiatives and support programs in the Caribbean region.

Hawke, on his part, expressed satisfaction and referred to the importance of Pacific islands for New Zealand. acknowledging the Cuban medical collaboration in the region and fame it enjoyed in the field of healthcare. He welcomed the joint cooperation in the area for the benefit of Pacific islands.

Cuban Medical Training

Meanwhile, Pacific island Tuvalu’s education department has asked medical students who had training in Cuba to complete their internship in Kiribati, reports

According to Atabi Ewekia, the department’s pre-service training officer, already eight students who had finished their medical program in Cuba have been asked to start their training with the Princess Margaret Hospital before travelling to Kiribati.

The Kiribati program is co-facilitated by Australia and Taiwan to fill up the gaps in the skills of doctors who had foreign medical training. It is designed to make them more competent and safe doctors.

According to Ewekia, assessments have found that the medical training received in Cuba needs scaling up to meet the local needs. The main problem faced by Pacific countries with their Cuban-trained doctors has been their difficulty in practising medicine in English language after the training received in Spanish language. Also they lag in practical and communication skills, reports ABC News.

The problem areas include prescriptions, which are short of detailing on the frequency of the medicine. On the practical side also, there are problems like putting on the IV to patients, as if they are very unfamiliar with that.

Kalyan Kumar, Progreso Weekly

February 17, 2015

(From: International Business Times)

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