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Nine Jamaicans will be pursuing studies in Cuba under the Jamaica-Cuba Bilateral Medical Scholarship Programme for the academic year 2020/2021.

Sydonie Shaw, Thiana Tyrell, Kedesha Garwood and Theo Bryan are this year’s awardees for the medical programme, while Yanique Uter, Crystal McIntosh and Nika-Lee Page will be studying nursing.

The other students, Psylecia Senior and Kareem Scarlett, received scholarships for postgraduate studies.

The awards were formally presented to the students at an official virtual awards ceremony held yesterday (August 13) at the Cuban Embassy in Kingston.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ambassador Marcia Gilbert-Roberts, said that over the decades, Jamaica and countries across the globe have received much-needed medical support from Cuba.

“Jamaica has received invaluable support for our health sector through the provision of medical practitioners as well as through the offering of these invaluable scholarships,” she said.

Ambassador Gilbert-Roberts argued that the collaboration in health “is reflective of the strong diplomatic and fraternal ties that endure between Jamaica and Cuba”.

“The scholarships also remain in line with our own strategic national development plan – Vision 2030 – and the Government’s resolve to build Jamaica’s human capital and to increase social development in rural communities across the island,’ she added.

The Ambassador expressed gratitude, on behalf of the Government, to the Government of the Republic of Cuba, for its support in providing additional health professionals to complement Jamaica’s local efforts in containing the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to Jamaica, Her Excellency Inés Fors Fernández, in her remarks reminded the scholarship recipients that their success is possible because of the support of their families, teachers and those important to them.

She said the Government of Cuba has kept the scholarship programme going in spite of Cuba’s ongoing economic situation, caused mainly by the continuation of the almost six-decade economic, financial and commercial blockade, as well as the effects of the international economic crisis and more recently the impact of COVID-19.

“You will be travelling to Cuba, a country with a free, resilient health system, with nine doctors per thousand inhabitants that provide the population 100 per cent coverage;  a country which ranks among the 35 nations with the lowest infant mortality rate,” she added.

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