Palau delegation with Cuba’s Minister of Public Health, Dr. Morales, and his Directors. (Contributed Photo)

A BIG Palauan delegation visited Cuba on February 23 to check out Palauan medical students there and learn from the country’s renowned health care system.

Health Minister and Doctor Emais Roberts led the delegation together with Education Minister Sinton Soalablai, Senator Aric Nakamura, Chief Justice Arthur Ngirakelsong, Ambassador of Palau to the UN Olai Uludong, and Ambassador-designate to Cuba, Dr. Greg Dever and Dr. Lala Lalavalevu.

Cuba is well-known for its advanced health system and primary health care initiatives around the world. It is the only Small Island Developing State (SIDS) to offer free health care and education from the elementary to PhD level.

This is not the first time that Palau has partnered with the Cuban government as the relationship between the two countries dates back in 2012 when a young Palauan high school graduate, Jason Arurang, a native of Peleliu who had dreamt of becoming a doctor, was offered the Cuban scholarship to attend the Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (ELAM) or Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba.

Arurang was the first Palauan medicine student who enrolled in Cuba’s medical school in 2012.

Now there are already 10 students that study in ELAM including Arurang, who is to be conferred in June this year as the first Palauan medical graduate in Cuba, according to a press statement from MOH that was issued to Island Times.

The delegates visited the Palauan students of ELAM, toured various medical facilities, met Cuba’s medical and foreign affairs officials, and undertook medical study visit.

During the visit, the delegation also met with Cuba’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and had discussed how the two can strengthen their relationship in the field of health and possible people-to-people exchange on climate change training and also the sending of a non-resident Palau Ambassador to Cuba.  (Rhealyn C. Pojas/Reporter)