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The Cuban government offers places to thousands of foreign students in its medical institutions.

What we want in the Latin American School of Medicine is that the students ? become impregnated with the same doctrine in which our doctors are educated, with that total devotion to their noble future profession, for the doctor is like a shepherd, a priest, a missionary, a crusader of the people’s health and physical and mental well-being.- Fidel Castro

MORE people now know about Cuba’s excellent public medical system, thanks to Michael Moore’s SICKO. In the documentary, Moore takes a group of 9/11 volunteers to Cuba to receive treatment that they had been denied by the United States government.
BATISTA: We do not place students of one nationality in one institution.

In fact, the communist country has a unique, government-funded programme to train medical students from around the world.

According to Cuban embassy first secretary Florentino Batista, seven Malaysians joined the programme for the first time last year.

This year, a new batch of five students left for Cuba earlier this month under the medical scholarship programme which was set up in 1999.

In the beginning, the students were mostly from Cuba’s Latin American neighbours.

“We have expanded the programme to include more countries in Africa and Asia. This is our contribution to training their human resources,” says Batista.

There are currently 22,893 foreign students under the medical scholarship programme, including at the Latin American School of Medicine.

Besides training foreign students, the Cuban government has also set up medical faculties overseas, in Yemen, Venezuela, Timor Leste, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Equatorial Guinea and Eritrea.

Medical students make up the largest number of university graduates, second only to teachers. Cuba has over 80,000 doctors.

According to Batista, the medical scholarship programme is entirely free as all costs are subsidised by the Cuban government.
Former Cuban President Fidel Castro has iconic status in the country. - AFP pic

This includes tuition fees, food and accommodation.

Under the programme, which spans six years, the students are sent to 14 different faculties of medicine in Cuba.

The first year is akin to pre-university. As the medium of instruction is Spanish, those who are not proficient in the language need to spend an additional 22 weeks to brush up on it. They then spend the rest of the year studying advanced Biology and Chemistry in Spanish before starting their medical studies. 

By SIMRIT KAUR / The Star

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Source: http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2008/9/7/education/1832147&sec=education

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