South Sudan students who are stuck in Cuba call for help
By Sallah SJ Lasu,
Oct 23, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — I am writing on behalf of the South Sudanese Students and doctors in Cuba. South Sudan is one of the countries that is a beneficiary of the Cuban Medical training program that was initiated by the Architect of the Cuban Revolution, late Commander Fidel Castro Ruz in the year 1999. Cuba hosts more than 3000 students from more than 100 countries in the world envisioned in the Fidel Castro goal of creating a better new world where all have access to health care as a fundamental Human Right.
Students are fetched from their countries through the ministry of Higher education. The students are trained as doctors who will work at communities that are needy in terms of health services delivery. South Sudan is blessed to be part of this great opportunity of Doctors’ creation since 2012.
The first set (6) of the south Sudanese students came in 2012. Our government catered for their tickets and they signed a document at the Cuban embassy in Ethiopia that the government shall be responsible for their return tickets. The second set composed of 8 students who came in 2013 and they hold similar document that the government (Ministry of Higher education) shall return them home. Republic of Cuba has been awarding this scholarship as part of their international cooperation yearly, bringing the total to 29 (2013 to 2020) beneficiaties. 11 graduated as Medical doctors and the rest are still on their way to the finishing line. Currently we have a total of 26 South Sudanese in Cuba here of which 8 are graduates and other others are continuing students (Bachelor of medicine and surgery ).
REASON FOR THIS ARTICULATION
Fellow citizens and compatriots of our great nation, allow me appraise you that we have 8 doctors currently in Cuba who are unable to travel to the country due to lack of air tickets. Three of the doctors have been in the Island for one (1) year awaiting for their tickets.
WHO IS TO GIVE THEM TICKETS TO RETURN BACK HOME?
The directorate of Training and external relations in the ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology is the office responsible for the travel of these doctors (To and from).
WHAT WENT WRONG?
When the first set graduated last year in August, 2019, my predecessor contacted the ministry and they promised to get these doctors home. The ministry response was ” we have made the request and therefore the ministry of finance is yet to release the ticket money”. Days and months went by we got same words. In August, this year the second set graduated making a total of 11 graduates. We wrote and called the ministry again through or education attaché Mr. Peter Khoor Malual in Ethiopia about our new graduates and the need to get them home to participate in the delivery of health services to our citizens.
They reacted positively to the news and gave us glimmer of hope that thy will send them their tickets and we should wait for the COVID-19 pandemic to give the airport’s breathing space. We agreed on that. when the Airports opened up in late August this year, we notified the ministry and we were told the ministry of finance is yet to release the funds. Same wordings used in August, 2019. Till today, we have we have 8 competent doctors here in Cuba without tickets to travel to the Nation. our embassy in Washington is aware of the situation of these doctors and one fifth year student who is sick and also need to be taken home for family Therapy and further treatment.
WHAT IS OUR CALL?
We are calling upon the government of South Sudan to consider the issue of these doctors as a priority and grant them tickets to go home. We are also calling upon concerned citizens of the nation, NGOs and Friends of the republica to put these doctors at their hearts and grant them tickets. Their families have their hands tied financial and they are asking for your support to take their children home.
Frecuently asked question: why don’t these doctors work in Cuba there and pay their air tickets?
1) Before leaving South Sudan, a memorandum of understanding was signed with Cuba that prohibits these students from working in the Country. They have to finish their studies and go home to help their communities.
2) Secondly, as medical doctors, they have an opportunity to serve as doctors in the Cuban primary health care system. However, the salary scale for medical doctors in Cuba is $40 monthly. Based on the high cost of living in the Island resulting from the aggressive economic sanctions poured upon Cuba government by the US government since 1963, it is almost impossible to raise approximately $2,000 USD for the fare. If you do the math then you will realise that thy will have to work for 50 months (4 years) without maintaining their beings. Therefore, I call upon all to stand up for our doctors and let’s speak for them and show our love to them. You may not need a doctor today but someone, somewhere is in need and tomorrow you might need one.
MESSAGE TO THE TGoNU.
The greatest thing to you can do, is to do the right thing for your nation at the right time. The citizens of our country deserve better health care system and Doctors are the nucleus of that system. Take our doctors Home, Our citizens need them.
MESSAGE TO THE PUBLIC
These are your doctors, if you have the possiblity to help them, it’s now. As we continue to hope under the delusions of “The ministry has not yet released the money,” help their voice reach to every concerned citizen and friend of South Sudan. We will appreciate even if one ticket at ago.
Thank you all,
Sallah SJ Lasu is the President of South Sudanese Students Union and doctor’s in Cuba. He can be reached through WhatsApp at +5355795358 for more details.
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