Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bid to extend contracts of Cuban nurses, docs

Bid to extend contracts of Cuban nurses, docs
Juhel Browne
Friday, December 18th 2009

Cuban doctors and nurses working in this country's public health
institutions could have their two-year contracts extended by an
additional 12 months. Furthermore, Cuba now wants Trinidad and Tobago to
consider importing Cuban generic and non-generic drugs.

These proposals were discussed during an official trip Foreign Affairs
Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon made to Cuba earlier this week, the Minister
said during yesterday's post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic
Centre in St Ann's.

Gopee-Scoon said a total of 260 Cuban doctors and nurses have worked in
Trinidad and Tobago since 2003 under a government-to-government
agreement, with a recent batch arriving a month ago.

The proposals were part of a focus on increasing the reciprocity in the
close ties Trinidad and Tobago has with the region's only communist
state, Gopee-Scoon said.

Just last week, Prime Minister Patrick Manning had travelled to Cuba for
a routine medical check in relation to the surgery he had there last
December to remove his cancerous left kidney. Manning also previously
had pacemaker surgery in Cuba.

Gopee-Scoon said during her visit she submitted specific requests to the
Cuban government, regarding its increased public health services in this
country, on behalf of the Manning administration.

'We also requested further training in dengue fever and any other fever
eradication as well and further supply of nurses and doctors, as well as
the extension of the contracts. Normally they are here, health care
professionals are here on two-year contracts and we are looking to
expand these to three-year contracts instead,' Gopee-Scoon said.

In keeping with the theme of reciprocity where trade is concerned,
Gopee-Scoon said the Cuban government wanted this country to look at the
importation of pharmaceuticals from Cuba.

She said there also was discussion 'for the possibility of the conduct
of 5,000 cataract operations over a nine or 12-month period in 2010. See
Page 10

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