Solomon Islands Sending More Medical Students to Cuba

Text of report by Solomon Islands locally-owned newspaper website, Solomon Times Online on 15 September

[By Joy Basi]

Another 25 more students intending to study medicine will leave the country for Cuba at the end of the month. This was confirmed by the Ministry of Health’s under-secretary for health care, Dr Cedric Alependava in an interview last week.

“Under the agreement between the Cuban government and the Solomon Islands government there are 50 scholarship for 2007-2008 offered for Solomon Island students,” said Dr Alependava. He mentioned that the first part of the agreement had already been implemented, which is why the first lot of 25 students are currently studying medicine in Cuba.

According to Dr Alependava, the 25 students are quite successful in their studies and have completed their language training. The students are now into their academic studies.

The Ministry of Health is expecting another 25 students to leave at the end of the month.

He adds that the Ministry of Health and Medical Services has seen this agreement as a big bonus to the Solomon Islands, as already the Solomon Islands “is short of nearly 50- 60 doctors.”

According to Dr Alependava, the agreement will enable doctors to be relieved at times.

It has also been revealed that Malaita and Western Province are desperately in need of another 10 doctors and at least four more doctors for other smaller islands. The National Referral Hospital is also experiencing similar problems and is in dire need of 40 more doctors and additional anaesthetists. The hospital currently has only one anaesthetist.

Solomon Islands has only 59 doctors in total, working within the capital and in the provinces.

Dr Alependava also revealed that the Cuban government has given an additional 16 medical scholarships for 2009, which means that “after six yeas of studying we would have 66 new doctors to provide for the medical need of the country”.

Dr Alependava in conclusion thanked the Cuban government for the much needed assistance to the Solomon Islands.

Originally published by Solomon Times Online website, Honiara, in English 15 Sep 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

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