Doctors, Nurses, Technicians and other medical personnel gathered at the Inspiration Center for the first Cuba-Belize medical symposium. The event was put together to mark twenty- six years since Cuba started partnering with Belize for medical work. Since then the assistance extended to Belize has expanded to include scholarships and other forms of medical aid. Andrea Polanco was at today’s symposium and shares how medical institutions and people of Belize have benefited from this cooperation with Cuba.
The first ever Cuba-Belize medical symposium took place today in Belize City. It was held to mark the twenty-six years of medical cooperation between the two countries. Since the 1990’s Cuban doctors started working in Belize; and later Belizeans got the opportunity to pursue medical studies at one of the biggest medical schools in the region; the cooperation also provided the opportunity to some Belizean patients to get medical service in Cuba.Today they officially commemorated the milestone with a symbolic plaque.
Orestes Hernandez, Minister Counselor, Embassy of Cuba in Belize
“A key issue here is the preparation of human resources. As many Belizean people know, there is a Latin American school of medicine in Cuba for more than twenty years. It was the idea of our late President Fidel Castro in 1998; when we decided to help others in terms of health care. And then he said why don’t we prepare the human resources in Cuba and they go back to their countries and help the poor people, not just in the Capital, but in the villages and where they need that help. So, due to that project, I can say that more than a hundred Belizeans have been prepared as doctors and now they working, spread throughout all of Belizean territory, together with the Cuban medical; so I think that one of the key issues in that improvement that you have mentioned and the other is that we have been collaborating in many fields. In Belize, we have now seventy-two medical personnel now working from nursing to specialist in different specialties.”
C.E.O. of the K.H.M.H., Doctor Adrian Coye shares the impact of the Cuban Medical Brigade on the K.H.M.H.
“What I can recognize since my time there, there have been these broad areas of support; training, active participation – meaning the personnel on site; and we do know that patients do leave from Belize and go to Cuba for care on very special occasions. We recognize earlier today that some of our most senior colleagues have been trained in Cuba and they came back home and did what they were trained to do and made the impact. The waves of trainings have been happening over the years, so from a doctor’s perspectives, we’ve seen the different specialists, general surgeons, orthopedics, obstetricians, pediatricians, gynecologists, gastroenterology, cardiology; and these are key specialty that have augmented and widened the range of services that we deliver at KHMH. It will continue I am sure. The majority of our junior doctors in Belize, I think, and perhaps half of the existing body of physicians at this point have probably been trained in Cuba or been specialization has happened. Ten nurses and a bio-medical technologist. Now, globally, our specialist body is just under thirty and you will see that ten out of thirty is an important percentage – almost a third of our specialist work force, then, is representation from Cuba. We don’t have medical officers on the Medical Brigade, but additionally, we have about forty-five. From the one hundred and nineteen nurses, as we said, ten are from the medical brigade of Cuba. Because of the impact of the medical brigade OF Cuba, for all these years, there is no way we could have been doing now and advance the way we have advanced without the generosity of the people of Cuba.”
The event included presentations from Cuban and Belizean medical doctors on a number of conditions and diseases – as well as discussion on wider public health and other related topics.
Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.