Ghanaian medical students in Cuba have called for immediate restructuring of the Cuban-Ghana medical program after decrying what they termed “maltreatment” suffered under the programme for years.
The 250 students who have spent four years in Cuba studying a 7-year programme in medicine, complained bitterly of government’s neglect, which have compelled many of them to device some unhealthy and demeaning means to survive as they are faced with hunger and dejection.
“We wish to hereby state that enough of the negligence, the disrespect to human dignity, the violation of human rights, enough of the shamelessness, enough of the cruelty under the guise that ‘there are no funds”, the students noted in a memo endorsed by the leadership including its President, Ahmed Hughes; Vice President, Samuel Agamah; and PRO, Abraham B. Buernor.
“For about 8 months this year we have not been paid our monthly stipends, book allowance, health insurance and for our fees and accommodations. We have spoken to government and embassy here but have come to no resolution. It’s quite unbearable now for all students,” Abraham Buernor said in a follow up interview.
Recounting the harsh condition they are faced with at the strict communist state, the students said some of the potential medical doctors have fallen foul of the laws of Cuban because they dared to survive.
They also mentioned the psychological trauma students had to go through, including the inability of the female students to afford sanitary pads for their monthly flow. The students wondered in the memo, “We are not asking for too much but just what is needed for a human to survive that is if Ghana no longer value the investments she has made, because we all know the consequence of this inhumane treatment.”
The medical students are therefore recommending among others: An immediate overview be done on the Cuban-Ghana medical program.
We are also requesting that our stipends be paid as soon as possible, whether it be a privilege or a right. As a matter of fact the argument that Ghanaian students studying abroad have been given a privilege is fundamentally flawed and unintelligent, because what kind of privilege is backed by a legal document.
The scholarship secretariat, as an institution of the government, can take loans from banks or from any other place on behalf of the government to pay monies due the Ghana-Cuba Medical Scholarship holders which would be paid later when budget for the secretariat are made available.
Scholarship Secretariat can create a heritage fund, an account which could be reached for some of these emergencies thereby reducing the impact of any delays in release of budget for the secretariat.
Our monthly maintenance and book allowances could be separated from the total budget due the Cuban government and paid before the others are later paid.
The group of 250 students arrived in Cuba on May 22, 2012 under the administration of late President Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, with the aim of bringing to light the vision of the country in improving delivery of medical services to the Ghanaian population.