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Gov't Recruits First Batch of Candidates for Cuba Nursing Programme

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Contact: Claudia Monlouis

Thursday, June 29, 2006 – It was a full House at the NIC conference room on Thursday, June 28th when the Ministry of Education conducted an orientation session for 194 successful nominees to pursue the Cuban Nursing Scholarship Programme.

Cuban Ambassador to Saint Lucia His Excellency Hugo Cabrera briefed the students on the kind of environment Cuba offers.

“You will find in Cuba a very friendly country, a very friendly people as you are, very hospitable, but you have to be prepared to discover a country which is not a developed country. As a matter of fact we are on the way to becoming developed.”

Over the initial three year duration of the programme, Saint Lucians along with Vincentians and Kittitians will study to become qualified nursing assistants. The programme which is in its pilot stage was developed by the governments of St. Lucia and Cuba to address the shortage of nurses facing the island.

Under the programme, students will be provided with boarding, meals, free medical attention and books and stationery.

Dr. Mkabi Walcott who studied in Cuba for six years, shared the perspective of a former student. She noted that sacrifices would have to be made in order to make good on this opportunity but the experience can be very rewarding with the right mindset and approach.

'You are extremely lucky that you're going to be provided with accommodation which is new. A new school is going to house all of you together, along with some persons from St. Vincent and St. Kitts. So you are extremely lucky. You will not have to go through periods of loneliness, because you have each other right there .”

Those bound for Cuba were scheduled to leave the island by Thursday and Friday. The nursing students will be based in the province of Cienfuegos some six hours from Havana.

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