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posted 26 Jun 2011, 19:13 by Gerry Kangalee


by Junaid al-Jameel

Cuba has achieved free access to healthcare for 100% of its population. Cuba’s infant mortality rate of 4.90 deaths/1,000 live births is better than that of Canada (4.92), United Kingdom (5.22), Ireland (5.53), United States (6.06), Philippines (19.34), Trinidad & Tobago(27.69),India(47.57) and Bangladesh(50.73).

Cuba’s “number of (5.91) doctors per 1000 population” is higher than all other countries in the world. Ireland (2.79), United States (2.3), United Kingdom (2.2), Canada (2.1), Philippines (1.16), Trinidad and Tobago (0.79),India(0.6)and Bangladesh(0.26).

Cuban doctors are among the best in the world, and Cuba has the highest doctor-to-population ratio in the world. Hence the reason why "Cuba has 42,000 workers in international collaborations in 103 different countries, of whom more than 30,000 are health personnel, including no fewer than 19,000 physicians." 

There are no language complaints about Cubans in 103 countries around the world! There are no language complaints in Cuba from 2 million visitors per year.

The previous Minister of Health, Therese Baptiste-Cornelis could have gone to any of the American and European countries in search of 275 doctors, 2,467 nurses and 161 pharmacists, and she would not have
found them, because those countries simply don’t have them to spare.

To fill T&T’s shortage, she would not have found the 2,903 health personnel in Bangladesh either, because Bangladesh is the worst country in health standards and quantity of doctors.

There was a lot of publicity for her getting 25 Vincentian nurses and a few others, but these do not even make a 5% dent in T&T shortage of health personnel. There was no fanfare afterwards because nothing
more was done to solve the problem.

The former Minister of Health knew she could have had the urgently needed 275 doctors, 2,517 nurses and 161 pharmacists on short notice with a 4th Cuban Medical Brigade from Cuba, but she did not try to get
personnel from Cuba. Instead, she supported the "MBTT and Associates" embargo against Cuba, and parroted the lie (that Cuban doctors do not speak English) started by private hospital individuals. 

Was the tail wagging the dog? Was the Minister of Health slave to a clique of private hospital individuals from, Friday 28th May, 2010, the first day when she was sworn in, until Saturday 25th June 2011, when she was relieved of her Cabinet portfolio in the PP Cabinet reshuffle?

Trinidad and Tobago still has less than 1 doctor for 1,000 people. As long as the quality of health service in T&T can be deliberately kept low by blocking Cuban doctors and Cuban-trained Trinbagonian doctors from working in Public Hospitals, the private hospital patient population will be kept high, and consequently the financial status of the private hospital doctors will be kept high. Isn't racketeering illegal?

Isn’t the clique of "MBTT and Associates" doctors acting like a gang of mobsters, maintaining “their” status quo by using “their” own yardsticks to determine who gets into “their” UWI Medical School, and protecting “their” Private Hospitals’ cacada by blocking Cuban doctors and Cuban-trained Trinbagonians from practicing medicine in T&T Public Hospitals? Isn’t the end result the deliberate shortage of doctors in T&T Public Hospitals, for Public Hospitals to hire private doctors, and to funnel patients into Private Hospitals, where they can be bled of their money? Isn’t gangsterism illegal?

There are Trinbagonian Cuba-Trained Doctors who have graduated from Cuban Universities recognized by the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago before UWI was recognized. These Trinbagonian doctors speak English, Spanish and "Trini", served 1 year internships in both Cuba and in T&T, were graded "A" on the job, and were accepted for House Officer Doctor positions by Regional Health Authorities. 

Yet, these Trinbagonian Cuba-Trained Doctors are experiencing hardships, due to harsh, oppressive, and discriminatory denial of access to work, for as much as 1 year, by the clique of "MBTT and Associates" doctors.

Cuban and Cuban trained Trinbagonian doctors are hard working, dedicated, and disciplined medical professionals who have a sense of commitment to improve the quality of life of the people of this Republic of T&T. Will the next Minister of Health and the MBTT grant them equal opportunity to work in this land of Trinidad and Tobago, where every creed and race finds an equal place?