Eight Jamaican students will depart the island in August to pursue medical degrees in Cuba under the Cuba-Jamaica Cooperation Programme for the academic year 2016-2017.
The students were chosen from a field of over 300 applicants following a selection process by the Cuban Embassy: Nicholas Campbell, Sanja Bonnick, Shanize Shanna-Kay Stewart, Brittnie Dahlia Paul-Ann Lee, Sheldon Fitzgerald Antonio Brown, Shannoy Powell, as well as Dr Marlon de Wayne Brown and Dr Tanisha Trusty who will pursue post-graduate studies.
The course of study will last for seven years, with the first year dedicated to the study of the Spanish language. The scholarship covers tuition, accommodation, meals, clothing, allowance, study materials and medical care.
Nicholas Campbell, who is from a single-parent home in St Mary, told JIS that he is grateful for the financial support that he will be receiving through the programme. Mr. Campbell, who has completed a one-year course in Chemistry, Biology and Calculus in the Faculty of Science and Technology at the University of the West Indies, (UWI), Mona Campus, said his decision to pursue medicine, was influenced by the need for more doctors in St. Mary.
“This scholarship to me is really an honour because to afford medical school here in Jamaica is too expensive for my mom,” Campbell revealed. “I am really grateful for it and I look forward to…coming back to contribute to my community and to build my country,” he added.
Another Scholarship recipient, Shannoy Powell said she is “truly blessed” to be selected for the scholarship. The Clarendon native said she will have no problem learning the language since she has studied it while attending Westwood High School in Trelawny and at the UWI where she was pursuing a pharmacology course.
Cuban Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency, Bernardo Guanche Hernandez, who presented the scholarships to the awardees at a recent ceremony held at the Cuban Embassy, said the Programme has helped to strengthen the friendship and cooperative ties between both countries. At the end of 2015, he said that 151 young Jamaicans were studying in Cuba in the fields of Medicine, higher education, Physical Education, Sport and Culture.
“Cuba has also offered and continues to offer cooperation, mainly in the fields of health and education, in countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. Not only Cuban teachers have rendered their services in many developing countries, but also many students from those countries have studied and graduated, free of charge, in Cuban universities,” he stated.
Over 55,000 young persons from about 134 countries have graduated from Cuban universities under the country’s scholarship programme since its inception about five decades ago.