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Doctor educated in Cuba heads home to Peru

The Peruvian town of Sicaya dreams about life. With a population of less than 8,000 and scant sources of hope it is ready to welcome back one of its sons.

After graduating as a specialist in General Medicine from Havanas Latin American School of Medicine, Ernesto Barzola went on to do a Master in Medical Emergency. He is now ready to return to serve his hometown.

Along with Barzola were another 25,000 students taking Masters in Cuba. A fair amount of them graduated not long ago, including 1,700 from Havanas Higher Institute of Medical Sciences.

Master degrees by distance education offers university graduates specialty knowledge in their respective fields while allowing health professionals to remain in their workplace and research problems directly related to their work environment.

Remotely located towns are reaping the benefits of these distance courses. Two examples of this can be found in the province of Santiago de Cuba. The Pepito Tey Junior High School in Contramaestre and a primary school in Guama are showing the results of the research work of two professionals who received Masters in Womens General Medicine and Oral Medicine.

Marcos Antonio Sanchez, a specialist in Gynecology and Obstetrics, researched reproductive health at the Pepito Tey Junior High.

After conducting a survey, he developed an educational program consisting in 12 sessions of classes in three months. He then carried out another survey. The first survey showed that 96.7 percent of the students were completely misinformed, while the second showed that close to 100 percent were properly informed.

Dentist Nieves Cervantes used interactive software to teach children at the Guama School how to take care of their teeth and gums, and to improve their oral hygiene.

Other master degrees offered by distance education include in the areas of Bio-energy, Natural Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Children Health Care, Longevity, and Dentistry Emergency.

During the masters students meet once or twice a month and use CDs and videocassettes.

Luisa Maria Diaz, National Director for Postgraduate Courses said the distance education courses stand up to the traditional master degrees. "We train faculties in each province. Some are developing this process for the first time; nevertheless, their scientific committees are made up of prestigious professionals. Another value of these masters degrees is the substantial amount of research work that they produce and that have been proposed as doctoral thesis."

These first results have been buoyed up by Havanas Higher Institute of Medical Sciences, whose national academic committee prepared the programs and teaching material necessary to develop these courses in Cuba and abroad.

The courses are already having an impact in several diverse places around the world, including in Venezuela, Yemen, South Africa, Guatemala, Haiti, Rwanda, and East Timor. More than 13,000 Cuban doctors, nurses and dentists who are carrying out voluntary services in 36 nations are taking advantage of these distance education courses, as well as Latin American, African, Asian and US graduates from Havanas Latin American School of Medicine.

Both national and foreign health professionals who study in this Caribbean island rich in solidarity increase their qualification day by day. They prepare themselves to offer not only humanistic but high quality service.

Source: By Joel Mayor Duran, Granma

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