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Pacific doctors trained in Cuba struggle with language upon return

Pacific doctors trained in Cuba struggle with language upon return
Posted about 3 hours agoMon 9 Feb 2015, 9:48am

Pacific countries say their Cuban-trained doctors are struggling to
practise medicine in English because their training was conducted in

The long-running Cuban program of sending doctors to developing
countries, and inviting medical students to in Havana, has been
described as Cuba’s most important export commodity.

Cuba provided medical training to students from Kiribati, Vanuatu,
Solomon Islands, Nauru and Tuvalu since 2006 as part of its program of
medical internationalism.

But Tuvalu’s department training officer Atabi Ewekia said the
government found doctors trained in Cuba lacked practical and
communication skills when they returned.

“They found out, especially with the filling of prescriptions, some of
the important parts like the frequency of the medicine, they are not
detailed,” he said.

“Also, with the practical side – in terms of putting on the IV to
patients – they are not familiar with that.”

Mr Ewekia said Solomon Islands and Kiribati had also reported problems
with the Cuban training.

He said Kiribati established a two-year special internship program,
designed to fill the skills gap, and eight doctors training in Cuba
would be sent there later this year.

“We have seen the effectiveness of the program that they are now doing
in Kiribati,” he said.

“The main purpose of this program … is to make these doctors safe
doctors to practise in the hospitals.”

The Tuvalu government is re-evaluating its participation in the Cuban
program, which has trained 22 students from the country since 2008.

Mr Ewekia said the need for additional training, and the number of
doctors trained already, meant it might no longer be needed.

“At the moment, we already have a lot of doctors … and next year I
don’t think we’ll be sending doctors to Cuba,” he said.

“We appreciate the effort that the Cuban government has done to our people.

“I think when these doctors are [fully] trained, and they come back,
they’ll do a good job in Tuvalu.”

Source: Pacific doctors trained in Cuba struggle with language upon
return – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) –

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