Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Text of Castro Speech

FL142258 Havana Television Service in Spanish 1300 GMT 13 May 84

[Speech by President Fidel Castro at the National Conference of Medical
Science Students, held in Havana's Palace of Conventions on 5 May 1984 --

[Text] Dear comrades: It is not easy to make the closing remarks of a
meeting so rich in the discussions which have taken place today. Throughout
the day I took notes of the various topics in a chronological order. I have
taken notes of many of the important ones.

Here someone referred to the final tests and the systematic lack of
evaluation in some classes or by some professors. The extraordinary
importance of Cuban textbooks has been noted. It was even stated -- with
very sound judgement -- that a new experience is being developed. Also
mentioned were the importance of the work of a group of authors, the idea
of developing contests of knowledge, the need [words indistinct], the
importance of the work at the brigade level, at the rank and file level,
the importance of the bibliography -- not only of Cuban authors, but also
foreign authors, many of whom have recognized and unquestionable. authority
in the. subjects. We should try to benefit ourselves not only from our
experience but also from everyone's experience. Of course, the conditions
under which medicine develops in many countries must be taken into
consideration, We should not support the idea that pregnant women may smoke
because it says so in a textbook which is good and famous in other matters.

[Words indistinct] on evaluation, difficulties in the distribution of
books, which I believe also exist in the distribution of magazines.
[laughter] [Passage indistinct] There is a need for a drive in dental
health, the importance of learning, learning to think, learning to study,
the problems dealing with the relationship between professor and student,
demand of the dentists [words indistinct], the need to raise the sector's
[words indistinct]. There is a need to have a number of measures dealing
with fraud, of course, beginning with the idea of the existence of a
fraudulent potential in those who do not attend classes, who are finalists
[study for final exams only] and who become potential perpetrators of
frauds, the need to struggle as a precaution against all those factors
which engender fraud, even though -- as has been noted here -- the number
of fraud cases has been small, very small. [Passage indistinct] Whoever has
attended a meeting such as this would have strong reasons to believe that
the battle against fraud is being won, and that it is becoming increasingly
difficult and increasingly morally unacceptable that a student of medical
sciences would perpetrate a fraud.

[Other topics discussed here were] the need to improve the training of
interns, the importance of municipal and rural internships. There were
references to therapeutic procedures. The possible convenience of
initiating therapeutic procedures in the second year was mentioned, but
this has to be given profound thought. This could intensify the problem of
crowding at the hospitals. The number of cases would diminish, and the
student taking basic sciences does not have the basic knowledge and could
not handle this type of study, practical studies in the second year. That
is why this must be given a lot of thought.

The difference between the provincial and municipal hospitals was noted
here. [Passage indistinct] There was enthusiasm in citing the advantages
the municipal hospital has over the provincial because of the amount of
work it has. Matters dealing with treatment and sensibility with the
patients was taken up. Also noted was a very important point; the one
dealing with the need to raise the quality of the paramedics

[Words indistinct] reviews of their efforts, their achievements, their
difficulties, as well as their importance. It is my understanding that some
people favor making it into a national review. A few other important points
were mentioned. It would not be possible to comment on all of them. [Words
indistinct] but the most important have been mentioned. We should not judge
the results of this meeting by the work done today. [Words indistinct] at
the base, in the brigades, with the almost universal participation of all
the students of medical sciences, the comrades of the FEU [Federation of
University Students] and of the youth [words indistinct] all the problems
formulated. It seems that they take into account not only what has been
said here today but everything that has been said throughout this process
in basic discussions. They collected all the formulations of one kind or
another. They collected [words indistinct]. I believe that material must be
enriched now with the points that have been considered here.

And some of the formulations that do not seem very rational to us should be
excluded. [Passage indistinct] For example, it has been made clear that it
is apparently impossible -- it is neither practical not logical -- to
examine students on a rotational basis at the Piti Fajardo. Because they
already have daily activity [words indistinct] general medicine constantly.
And as a professor has explained to us here, the graduating class was
excellent. [Passage indistinct] They have demonstrated that they
successfully passed the test. Rotation by specialties is not the same in
the provinces, where you go to the maternity hospital and to the children's
hospital, as it is where everything -- the buildings -- is all together. I
believe that a formulation of that kind should not be included in the final

I also read the FEU document that suggested in some province -- I do not
know whether it was in Las Tunas -- the question of whether the tour of
duty of Piti Fajardo graduates in rural communities should be reduced to
only 2 years. This does not seem reasonable to us either because, first of
all, the students of the internationalist contingent that went to Nicaragua
[words indistinct], Western Sahara or Ethiopia, after having graduated.
[Passage indistinct] Some were brought back after finishing their
internship and others the first year. But in principle, 2 years after
graduation was agreed upon. And there are others who should stay 3 years at
Piti Fajardo. And we should also hope that in the future, there are doctors
[words indistinct].