Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Ban Ki-Moon: Cuba has the most advanced medical school in the world

The Secretary-General of United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, visited on Tuesday (28) the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM ) in Havana, to see the project developed by Communist island that has trained more than 11,000 physicians of 123 countries.

Ban Ki-Moon, who is on an official visit and is invited to the 2nd CELAC Summit, was received by Dr. Rafael Gonzalez Ponce de León, Rector of the institution and the Cuban Minister of Public Health, Dr. Roberto Morales Ojeda.

"Training of medical science and consciousness is the function of this school," said the Dean of Elam to the Secretary-General and he went on to explain how the educational program of the school functions. There are currently 1015 trainees studying in nine degrees and more than 20,000 graduates are at work around the world.

The UN Secretary General praised Cuba for what it called "genius for world health contributions, and being at the forefront of South-South cooperation." He added: "I could see in various communities, many forgotten, one common factor: Cuban doctors or doctors trained in Cuba, are there helping to save lives," Ban said.

"Cuba has a long history of cooperation. Cuban doctors are the first to arrive and the last to leave. Cuba can teach the world about its health system based on primary care, with significant achievements such as lower mortality, increased life expectancy and universal coverage, "he said.

Cuba gives us a lesson of solidarity and generosity, he pointed out. "We are all one, brothers and humans. Human health must stop being the privilege of the few to become the law for many," he stressed. Ban Ki-Moon also congratulated the students of Elam which ranked as "the most advanced medical school in the world."

"Health and the treatment of preventable diseases is one of the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations and a priority to save lives. This is what Cuba does here and around the world," he noted.

Elam appeared in 1998, when Hurricanes George and Mitch hit several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, leaving more than 30 people dead. Cuban doctors then departed to the most affected areas. Subsequently, from Fidel Castro's idea, Elam began the training of doctors from different nations in Cuba, which could provide help and change the health situation in needy, remote and poorer areas of the world .

Ban Ki-Moon's visit to the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana | Photo : Ricardo López Hevia/Granma
Vanessa Martina Silva ,
with information from CubaDebate

Translated from the Portuguese version

By Olga Santos