Where we stand‎ > ‎News & Comment‎ > ‎

DISCRIMINATION AGAINST CUBAN-TRAINED DOCTORS

posted 13 May 2011, 15:42 by Gerry Kangalee

DISCRIMINATION AGAINST CUBAN-TRAINED DOCTORS

by Junaid Al Jameel

In April, 2011, The Government of Trinidad and Tobago (GOTT) Health Minister Therese Baptiste-Cornelis, said that as at December 2010, there was a shortage of 275 medical staff, 2,517 nurses and 161 pharmacists, making a total shortage of 2,953 personnel in the health sector. The GOTT last year put out requests for Doctors, to different countries. The request was NOT put out to Cuba for a 4th Cuban Medical Brigade.

On May 11, 2011, the Health Minister said “The global shortage of medically trained practitioners is making it difficult for this Government to fill vacancies within the health sector” ... "I want that anyone who comes here can speak English," ... “we wanted to give first preference to nationals and we have put it out there, but they are not coming back as often as they should."

YET TRINBAGONIAN DOCTORS EDUCATED IN CUBA HAVE BEEN UN-EMPLOYED SINCE NOVEMBER 2010!

Trinbagonian doctors educated in Cuba are experiencing hardship because of harsh, oppressive, and discriminatory measures imposed against them by the Medical Board of Trinidad and Tobago (MBTT).

Cuba has the highest doctor-to-population ratio in the world. Cuba has over 80,000 doctors, and has sent more than 30,000 Cuban doctors to work abroad, in 40 countries around the world, such as Haiti, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe. NO LANGUAGE COMPLAINTS IN 40 COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD! Over 2 million visitors /year to Cuba can receive top level care at prices that are far below those in North America. 

The Cuban network of specialist medical and health centres ensures that foreign clients receive the best care through the most advanced medical treatments, technical equipment and tranquil recuperation resorts. NO LANGUAGE COMPLAINTS IN CUBA FROM 2MILLION VISITORS /YEAR!

The bilingual (English and Spanish speaking) Cuban Doctors and Nurses quickly acclimatize and learn to speak Trinidad-dialect, and work without difficulty. Trinidad and Tobago is the only one of the 40 countries with allegations of a language problem with Cubans! The language complaints do not come from the patients. The complaints come from certain doctors in UWI/MBTT/MPATT/ and-the-Minister-of-Health!

Here is the real reason that these doctors in UWI/MBTT/MPATT/ and-the-Minister-of-Health want to maintain the shortage of doctors in T&T.

Even with 30,000 doctors abroad, there is 1doctor / 200 people in Cuba, as compared to T&T‘s 1doctor / 1000 people,

While the quality of health service in T&T is low, the financial status of the T&T(UWI) doctors is high, because their patient population is high.

UWI/MBTT/MPATT/ and-the-Minister-of-Health do not resist foreign doctors Pakistanis, Indians, Filipinos, Nigerians, ... because these are temporarily employed doctors who move on to more lucrative markets in Canada, USA, Europe…

The doctors who UWI/MBTT/MPATT/ and-the-Minister-of-Health consider to be threats to the UWI/MBTT/MPATT-CACADA, are the Trinbagonians who they block from getting into UWI, and more so, those Trinbagonians who go on to get their accredited “Doctor in Medicine” degrees in Cuba.

Unlike T&T, Guyana sends about 100 students annually to Cuba to study Human Medicine, not for love of money, but for love of The People.... UWI/MBTT/MPATT/ and-the-Minister-of-Health are afraid that if they open the door to Trinbagonian Cuban trained doctors, other Trinbagonians would go and study there, opening a floodgate which would threaten the UWI/MBTT/MPATT- CACADA.

There are Trinbagonian Doctors educated in Cuba who have already served a 1 year Internship in Cuba, and another 1 year Internship in Trinidad, were found to have performed satisfactorily and were offered House Officer positions by the Regional Health Authorities. However these Trinbagonian Doctors have been out of employment since November 2010, because their Licences are NOT being renewed by MBTT.

On September 9th, 2003, In a media release, the T&T Health Ministry said Cubans are not required to do the Caribbean Association of Medical Councils (CAMC) exam as the MBTT has registered graduates of Cuban Medical Schools and graduates of medical schools in foreign countries.

The Health Ministry said there is no legal requirement for the CAMC exam. “In order to register doctors to practise, all that is required is a proper assessment of the doctors’ training, qualifications, experience and competence and this has been the procedure in this country for the last 40 years,” the release stated. An official of the Council of the Medical Board said those graduates referred to were Trinidadians who study in Cuba. Other foreigners registered would have been graduates from the list of schools recognised by the Medical Board. ..As pre-requisites for registering the Cubans, the Ministry had only to certify that the Cubans could communicate in English and that their schools were recognised...

Up to today in T&T, the Cuban doctors without writing CAMC exams are granted registration and allowed to work for three years, while Trinbagonian Doctors educated in Cuba who studied the same Cuban course contents in the same Cuban universities are being denied jobs.

Trinbagonians studying Medicine in Cuba receive the “Doctor en Medicina” degree, recognised by the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT), which visited Cuba about four years ago.

The ACTT, the governing body for the assurance of quality post-secondary and tertiary education in Trinidad and Tobago, was established to monitor and evaluate the quality of educational programmes, to safeguard the interests of students and the public, and to provide an assurance of, and improve the quality of education and training offered to consumers in this country.

One of the two reasons cited for establishment of the ACTT is that the UWI Medical Faculty was informed (around 2003) its programmes would no longer be accredited by the General Medical Council (GMC) of Great Britain. Accreditation status with the GMC normally allowed graduates the opportunity to register to practice in most Commonwealth countries without further scrutiny.

Yet, the MBTT appointed in January 2011 by the present Government of Trinidad and Tobago, has decided not to allow these Trinbagonian Doctors educated in Cuba, to practise medicine, until they have written further CAMC examinations and done CAMC practical exams. The argument presented by the newly appointed MBTT, is that the Language of Instruction of their medical training is NOT English. One would expect that a bilingual (English and Spanish speaking) Trinbagonian doctor would be prized instead of being undervalued.

The other argument presented by the newly appointed MBTT, is that Cuban Medical Schools are “Non-Traditional”. These are Cuban Medical Schools that have been accredited by the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT) even before the University of the West Indies (UWI). Founded in 1728, 283 years ago, The University of Havana, is the oldest university in Cuba and one of the first to be founded in the Americas. UWI is now 60 years old. Which university is more traditional? Hundreds of Cuban Doctors and Nurses have served and are serving in Trinidad and Tobago. MBTT omitting Cuban Universities from the MBTT list of “Traditional Universities” smacks of "CACADAISM".

Doctors in the MBTT list of “Traditional Universities” from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Egypt, Ghana, Great Britain, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic Of Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, USA, West Indies, Zambia, are registered and granted licences to practice without having to write CAMC exams. The native language of some of these countries is not English either!

It seems that only the Caricom Doctors educated in Cuba are required to write CAMC exams.

Is the Medical Board of Trinidad and Tobago (MBTT) (2011-2014): President Professor Surujpal Teelucksingh, Vice President Professor Samuel Ramsewak, Secretary Dr. Adesh Sirjusingh, Treasurer Dr. Anton Cumberbatch, Members of Council Dr. Colin Furlonge, Dr. Dev Ramoutar, Dr. Shehenaz Mohammed, Dr. Vin Sein Chiang, Mrs. Lynette Seebaran-Suite, Mr. Sharma Maharaj, Pundit Lutchmidath Persad-Maharaj.... acting in violation of The Equal Opportunity Act No. 69/2000?

IS THE PURPOSE OF THE CARIBBEAN ASSOCIATION OF MEDICAL COUNCILS (CAMC), WHICH COMPRISES MOSTLY UWI CONNECTED DOCTORS, AND SETS “EXAMS” AT UWI (MONA, JAMAICA), TO BLOCK XXXXX TRINBAGONIAN CUBAN TRAINED DOCTORS, AND TO DISCOURAGE OTHER XXXXX TRINBAGONIANS FROM STUDYING IN CUBA. AND THUS BLOCK THE FLOODGATE WHICH THREATENS THE UWI/MBTT/MPATT- CACADA?
Comments