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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Sept. 7) – Nauru's health minister says the arrival two months ago of 11 Cuban doctors has made a major contribution to improving the country's ability to handle its serious health problems.

The Cuban government sent them to Nauru after a request to Cuba's president, Fidel Castro.

Nauru's health minister, Kieren Keke, who used to spend half his day at the hospital and the other half in his ministerial office, says the doctors' arrival has taken pressure off him.

"That has certainly changed my workload and, I think, the workload of the other local doctors," he said. "We were down to three doctors trying to serve a population of over 10,000, so the doctors have been received with a lot of thanks."

There have been a few language problems with not many people on Nauru speaking Spanish but Dr Keke says communication is gradually improving.

September 8, 2004

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