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Medical Students in Cuba

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Dear Editor – One of your regular contributors is Ella Kauhue. 

She has been able to keep contagious issues in the media to generate discussions which, I have no qualms about. 

On occasions, however, what she contributes is way off the mark. 

A case in point is her insinuation in her recent article on the health care system in Solomon Islands where she highlighted that because our medical students in Cuba are being taught in Spanish they will not be able to translate what they learn on their return.

I do not agree with this.

Firstly, anecdotal evidence has already shown that language is not a barrier to transferring knowledge. 

Take for example the European Union where there is freedom of movement of labour between the member countries. 

You have Spanish doctors working in England, English doctors working in the Eastern EU countries, German doctors working in Portugal and the list goes on. 

It is the transferring of skills and knowledge that is the important ingredient for health professions such as doctors. 

Once a trainee doctor acquires these ingredients, how he or she transfers the knowledge or applies the skills should not be an issue. 

The doctor can even transfer the knowledge using sign language for that matter.

Secondly, our medical students are already well versed in the English language. 

In fact they were taught in the English language from the upper Primary level up to Form 7. 

The fact that they are already well versed in the English language meant that even if they are trained in Spanish or any other vernacular for that matter, they will have no problems when they wish to transfer the knowledge or apply the skills they have acquired. 

In our case I believe they will only converse with a patient using English if he or she is a foreigner. 

The majority of the our Cuban trained doctors will be using Pidgin English because the majority of patients they will encounter only know how to communicate in Pidgin English.

Therefore I have no issue with our Solomon Islands’ students attending medical training in Cuba.

In fact I believe it is a privilege for our students to do medical training in Cuba because the country not only has one of the highest health care system but also conducts vibrant medical research, has a quality pharmaceutical industry and is involved in cutting edge medical invention. 

I would therefore like our government to continue to send our medical students to Cuba for training in the coming years.

Charlie Kieu
White River