19 Jul 2007

Cuban doctors reduce Kiribati infant mortality rate by 80 percent

4:48 pm on 19 July 2007

The child mortality rate in Kiribati has been cut by 80 percent following the arrival last year of ten Cuban doctors.

The news comes as Australia warns Papua New Guinea not to recruit Cuban doctors because of Australian fears that it would destabilise security in the Pacific.

Solomon Islands is to begin recruiting Cuban doctors this weekend and Fiji is considering a Cuban offer to provide doctors.

The head of the Cuba-Kiribati cooperation committee says they are waiting for another six doctors to arrive in the country.

Dr Airam Meetai says the project has been a huge success and the Cuban doctors have lowered infant mortality rates from 50 in every 1,000 to 9.9.

"It's a wonder. The reality is the home visits and they study every people in the home and they collect data on each of the people staying in each of the households and then they work like that, checking all pregnant mothers, follow them up, check them and then refer them to the specialists."

Dr Airam Meetai