August 1 2016
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A gift to Fidel
The graduation ceremony was dedicated to the 90th birthday of the leader of the Revolution Fidel Castro Ruz. On behalf of the graduates, doctors Claudia Iris Alemañy and Abel Collazo Sosa, the top students of the University of Medical Sciences of Havana and the Calixto García School of Medical Sciences, respectively, presented a framed collage of snapshots reflecting different moments in the teaching of medicine, as a gift to Fidel.
Th beginning of a commitment
Both told Granma International that receiving their university degrees marked the beginning of their commitment to provide high quality services to save lives, cure disease, and improve health indicators across Cuban society and in other countries, if so required.
Claudia studied at the 10 de Octubre Medical School and hopes to specialize in genetics. Since the second year of her studies, she has collaborated in clinical trials, sponsored by the National Medical Genetics Center, regarding the incidence of alcoholism and addiction in physiological mutations causing infertility and other disorders.
Claudia had two reasons to celebrate this special day: as well as fulfilling her childhood dream of being a doctor, it was her 24th birthday. She noted, “I am following what our dear Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro said when he urged young people to study medicine and said that the future of our homeland would be a future of men and women of science.”
Cuba offers the opportunity for complete professional development
Her compañero Abel Collazo Sosa, aged 25, and graduating from the Calixto García School of Medical Sciences, explained that the last six years of their lives have seen a lot of effort and sacrifice, but that they have also engaged in productive, cultural and sports activities parallel to their studies. “I do not consider a degree as unattainable, but one must devote hours of study and time to understanding the subjects,” he added.
Abel hopes to devote himself to neurosurgery and from the second year of his studies he has been undertaking a residency in this specialty as his greatest passion is helping people and saving lives under any circumstances. He believes that Cuba offers the opportunity for complete professional development.
A wealth of knowledge
Also graduating, Yoeli Antonio Duarte Arzuaga received the Golden Diploma (highest degree title) for his academic achievements and aspires to become an urologist. He expressed his pride on studying at the Calixto García School of Medical Sciences, which has a history of 120 years and has obtained national excellence accreditation on three occasions.
“My professors have offered me a wealth of knowledge,” he stated, “They explained everything and taught us to seek out more information in terms of current sources in the field, something which was very relevant as starting now I have to study a further four years to complete the residence in urology.”
Jiang Miao: “Cubans are very special people; they treat foreigners as if they were a close relative“
The top graduate among students of other nationalities was Jiang Miao, known as Sonia to her Cuban friends, from the Julio Trigo Medical School. From the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China, Jiang has been living in Cuba for the past seven years. She praised the quality of medical education on the island, as students carry out residencies from the first year of their studies, beginning with nursing procedures and then undertaking rotations of different lengths in the various medical specialties.
“We have made use of all health facilities,” she explained, adding, “I made friends with my patients and my professors, a wonderful relationship; and I have led an intense university life with countless activities. My course compañeros chose me as the coordinator of Chinese students, as such I established fraternal ties with Cuban youth and student organizations.”
Jiang has decided to undertake a masters degree in Health Institution Administration at the Karolinska Institute located in Solna, near Stockholm, Sweden. She will return to her country before leaving for Europe to continue her studies. She summed up her time in Cuba with an eloquent phrase: “Cubans are very special people; they treat foreigners as if they were a close relative.”