By Staff Reporter : PNG Today
The Prime Minister returned to Papua New Guinea as news was released of the passing of the Late former President, Fideo Castro.
During the visit, that took place during the Prime Minister’s return from the APEC Summit in Lima, PM O’Neill held substantive talks with Cuba’s President, Raul Castro, on a range of healthcare co-operation options.
While in Havana, he further engaged with Cuban pharmaceutical companies producing medication that is highly suited to the conditions and illnesses found in Papua New Guinea.
The Prime Minister said the delegation's meetings with Cuban Government have revealed a number of common approaches to social development between the two countries.
"Cuba has implemented a range of social development policies to improve the quality of life of it´s citizens through effective health programs and systems,” the Prime Minister said.
"The result of these policies over many years has seen an improvement in quality of life, a reduction in infant mortality and an increased life expectancy.
“Papua New Guinea is in a position to learn from this experience and expertise, and to apply this to our core national policies of healthcare and education.
“President, Raul Castro and I discussed the opportunity to bring Cuban doctors to Papua New Guinea to serve in our remote areas.
“President Castro is supportive of the proposal and it is now up to our officials to finalise details.
“Right now in some of our rural areas, people are not receiving adequate healthcare for the simple fact that we cannot get enough Papua New Guinean doctors to move to these locations.
“Many doctors would prefer to be based in urban areas, so with the support of several of our senior doctors, we are working with Cuba to fill the gaps in rural areas.
"As an island nation in a tropical environment, Cuba faces many similar medical challenges to Papua New Guinea, so I expect these doctors will be very effective in delivering healthcare to our people.
“While in Cuba, we further discussed medical education, and Cuba is willing to extend co-operation including medical professors to come to Papua New Guinea and for our students to travel to Cuba for training.
“Our national medical training must be intensified, and more doctors and healthcare workers must be available to more people throughout our country.
"A Memorandum of Understanding will be signed with the Cuban Government that will facilitate recruitment and training priorities.”
The Prime Minister was accompanied by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Rimbink Pato MP, Government officials including the Secretary for Health, and a team of senior Papua New Guinea doctors.