A total of 200 Ghanaian students are expected to leave for Cuba to pursue various courses in medicine at the country’s universities.
This forms part of efforts by government of Ghana to improve quality healthcare delivery to the citizenry when they return home.
They would be away for six to seven years on government sponsorship with some support from the government of Cuba.
The students comprised 170 undergraduates and 30 others from specialised areas. Already, 80 of the students had left the country with the rest expected to have left Tuesday and the last batch slated for departure next week.
Addressing students at a short ceremony in Accra on Tuesday to bid them farewell, the Minister of Health (MoH), Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, said the initiative would, among other things, increase the doctor-to-patient ratio in the country as well as to address the uneven geographical distribution of specialised doctors across the country.
Mr Agyeman-Manu advised them to be disciplined and abide by the laws in Cuba and counselled them to reach out to achieve their core objectives.
He further urged them to return to the country upon completion of their studies, saying “come back to ensure to commit yourselves to take up new initiatives and give back to the country.”
Additionally, the sector minister mentioned that students who had completed their studies in Cuba were expected to be back by July.
Congratulating students for their exertion, Mr Agyeman-Manu, commended the Cuban government for their relentless efforts in improving healthcare delivery in the country.
Dr Dominic Kwesi Eduah, Executive Director of the Ghana National Petroleum Commission (GNPC) Foundation, sponsors of the award scheme, assured the students of providing the necessary support.
He indicated that the GNPC foundation had made available over $20 million to finance their education, adding that despite the amount involved the commission was willing to support and improve the country’s healthcare sector, and advised them to stand out and be confident.
For his part, Mr Pedro Luis Despaigne Gonzalez, the Cuban Ambassador, said his country was prepared to support the healthcare system as well as help develop the country’s human resource.
He added that this year would commemorate the 60th anniversary of Cuba’s diplomatic relations with Ghana and expressed his country’s commitment to continue collaborating with Ghana in health, education and other sectors.
Ambassador Gonzalez stressed the need for students to be focused and disciplined to attain higher heights to serve their country.
The students also pledged to live up to expectations.