NEW CROP OF SOLOMONS MEDICAL STUDENTS OFF TO CUBA

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A total of 50 Solomons students received scholarships

By Eddie Osifelo

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Nov. 12, 2008) – Another 25 students head off to Cuba yesterday to undertake medical studies there.

They include 20 male and five females.

Under Secretary of Health Care in the Ministry of Health, Dr Cedric Alependava and a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official accompanied the students.

This latest group will join the first 25 that left early this year. They are all studying under Cuban Government scholarships.

Foreign affairs official Trevor Unusu, who accompanied the group, said the students will be in Cuba for six years.

Their first six months there will see them learning Spanish, which is the official language of the communist nation.

Under the Cuba-Solomon Islands Medical Bilateral Agreement, the government here meets airfares while Cuba covers every other expense.

The Solomon Star understands the Government spent more than $1 million for the airfares of the students and the two officials.

Mr Unusu said Iran , which made an offer to meet our students’ airfares to Cuba, might come in later to help.

While in Cuba, Mr Unusu and Dr Alependava will negotiate to bring another eight Cuban doctors to work here.

The first two are already working at the National Referral Hospital.

"Under the initial agreement, 10 doctors will come here and 50 of our students go there. However, currently only two Cuban doctors are working in the country," Mr Unusi said.

According to reports, Cuba has one of the top health care services in the world.

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