Cuba to send 300 doctors to East Timor

Campaign News | Wednesday, 14 December 2005

Offer made to prime minister on visit to the island

Havana, Dec 14 (Prensa Latina)- Cuban President Fidel Castro stated that Cuba is willing to send up to 300 physicians to the Democratic Republic of East Timor, to broaden assistance on this field.

The Cuban leader made the offer to East Timor Prime Minister Mari Bim Amude Alkatiri during a meeting with 200 medicine students in Havana.

Presently, there are 65 Cuban doctors working in East Timor, which obtained its independence from Indonesia in 1999.

Fidel Castro asserted East Timor would win in its struggle for development, adding that Cuba?s cooperation will be a significant contribution to that goal.

He said that 400 students from that southeastern nation would arrive in Cuba to study medicine, and his country will support the literacy campaign there with advanced learning aids.

Prime Minister Alkatiri noted that the young people from East Timor would not only learn medicine but also learn about the Cuban social system and solidarity.

Visiting an experimental junior high school in Old Havana on Tuesday, Alkatiri highly praised the reforms Cuba has made in education.

He also toured the Ramon Pardo Ferrer Ophthalmology Institute, where he extolled the staff?s professionalism and advanced technology. He visited, too, the 19 de April Policlinic, where he was briefed about primary health assistance to outpatients, disease prevention and rehabilitation.

12,000 Panamanians per year to receive sight operations in Cuba

Havana 30 November: PRESIDENT Fidel Castro had official talks with the Panamanian leader Martin Torrijos, who traveled to Havana to greet the first 74 patients from Panama to receive sight operations as part of Operation Miracle.

After a tight program on November 30, Torrijos was accompanied to the airport by Fidel, who expressed his pleasure at the visit.

On coming in person to greet his compatriots, accompanied by Cuban Health Minister José Ramón Balaguer, President Torrijos confirmed “the beginning of new links of cooperation, fraternity and understanding between Panama and Cuba.”

“Today the miracle of Operation Miracle is beginning,” he stated, on thanking the Cuban people and government for their solidarity and support in “restoring hope to many Panamanians.”

This first group sets in action an agreement between the Health Ministries of both nations to perform up to 12,000 operations per year with highly qualified Cuban doctors and advanced technology in the ophthalmologic field.

“We do not have the facilities to perform these operations in Panama and this project will really have a great social impact in our country,” affirmed Torrijos.

The patients include five children and 20 members of Panamanian indigenous communities.

The delegation headed by the Panamanian president visited the Ramón Pando Ferrer Ophthalmologic Center, where 600,000 sight operations are to be carried out next year. In 2005, some 50,000 patients with visual disorders - basically cataracts - from 15 countries have been operated on in that installation as part of Operation Miracle, a project set up by the Cuban and Venezuelan governments.

Torrijos also visited the Solidarity with Panama special school for children with physical disabilities, where he reflected on “this major work of resistance and great human value.”

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