Cuba to build medical school for Caribbean students

CASTRIES, St Lucia, May 30, 2007 – Cuba has announced plans to establish a medical training facility specifically for Caribbean students.

The announcement was made by Foreign Minister Felipe Perez at the 45th Meeting of the OECS Authority which concluded in Grenada at the weekend.

A communiqué from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) said that the facility to be located in Cuba would enroll up to 400 students. In addition, another 130 scholarships to OECS nationals outside of medicine will be on offer for the 2007-2008 academic year.

Cuba is assisting with the development, equipping and staffing of Diagnostic Centres in Antigua/Barbuda, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines, an Eyesight Centre in St. Lucia, and the reconstruction of the main hospital in Grenada.

In addition, the “Miracle Eye” project will continue its eye operation surgeries but patients will now have the operations conducted in their home island, reducing the need to travel. One in every 58 OECS nationals was tested during the first phase of the project, and 9,799 received operations.

And for those who are currently working in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Cuba is offering 25 post-graduate scholarships to OECS nationals.

In reaffirming Cuba’s commitment to building economic, social and cultural ties with the OECS, Perez also announced that his country had already installed more than 700,000 energy saving light bulbs in homes across the OECS and has offered to provide new bulbs to sustain the energy saving initiative at cost price.

The Heads agreed, stated the communiqué, that the OECS should examine ways in which the sub-region can make practical responses to Cuba’s generosity, despite its insistence that it is seeking nothing in return.