Cuba discussed with Thailand about many scholarships for Thai students nationwide to attend medical schools in Cuba, starting with southern border provinces where medical personnel are needed, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said on Wednesday.
Gen Prawit was speaking after a meeting with Cuban Ambassador Hector Conde Almeida, who paid a courtesy call on him at Government House.
He said Thailand and Cuba enjoyed smooth and cordial diplomatic relations. During the past decade there had been exchange visits leading to cooperation in the fields of public health, medical research and sports. Cuba had several agreements with Thailand.
Gen Prawit said Cuba had cooperated with the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre, the Ministry of Public Health and the Iqra Institute in a project to assist students with the potential to study medicine.
Cuba had now considered many scholarships for Thai students to attend medical schools in Cuba, starting with southern border provinces.
Gen Prawit said he was chairman of the strategic committee for development of southern border provinces and would brief members on this offer at its meeting on Feb 27.
He would also assign agencies to look into steps to be taken to select students to study medicine to bachelor's level in Cuba, and prepare for the sigining of a memorandum of understanding with the Latin American School of Medicine and other medical schools in Cuba, he said.
Gen Prawit thanked the Cuban government for its assistance and cooperation.
He said the ratio of doctors per head of population was 1:1,794 in southern border provinces and 1:700 in Bangkok. The accepted world standard was 1:600.
In response, Mr Almeida said he was glad that Thai-Cuban relations were being lifted to another level with the sending Thai medical students to study in Cuba, whose public health services were among those at the top of world rankings.
He thanked Gen Prawit for having pushed for implementation the project. The southern border provinces were suited to using public health as a strategy to create sustainable peace, he said.