Medical students from more than 80 countries in Cuba are celebrating Latin American Medicine Day on Tuesday, a profession that they dream of exercising with humanism, solidarity, and committed to peoples' health and lives.
Students of the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) are trained under these principles, and the educational institution has graduated a total of 29,736 young people from all over the world in its 20 years; 6,848 went on to study Comprehensive General Medicine, while 2,135 have studied other medical specialties, all of which in Cuba.
'Nothing can change the essence of their mission, which is to provide healthcare wherever needed, making the peoples of the world smile,' assured Dr. Patrick Dely, from Haiti, a member of the first graduation.
At present, Dely is the National Director of Epidemiology, Laboratory and Research of the Ministry of Public Health of Haiti. He is a college professor at a medical school and head of the International Medical Society of ELAM graduates.
Patrick realized his dream of becoming a doctor to help people, and 15 years later, this higher education center keeps on fulfilling many poor young people's dreams from all over the world.
Bwambale Hagai, from Uganda, has wanted to be a surgeon since he was a child. He had heard about the work of Cuban doctors in his country and decided to apply for a scholarship to study in Cuba. He is now a sophomore and vice president of ELAM's Educational Committee.
'I like preventive medicine; I do not want people to get sick; this is the reason why I am studying,' he said.
At 25, he says that he is grateful for the opportunity and proud to change his life and the lives of those around him.
'I want to be an integral physician, who knows his society, because I am concerned about the people where I come from (?). It is not enough to diagnose and cure illnesses. I will change and improve lives,' he pointed out.
During their training, these students visit doctor's offices and have contact with patients, so they deepen their knowledge of the clinical examination as an exploratory method to reach a diagnosis, in teaching based on the relationship between theory and practice.
ELAM was created on November 15, 1999, by the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro Ruz, in order to train young people from poor families.
ELAM graduate doctors have boosted important health programs in their countries of origin, for example, Operacion Milagro (Miracle Operation), that has restored the sight of more than 3 million patients in 35 Latin American, Caribbean, and African nations.
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