20 Oct 2009

Cuban doctors in Solomon Islands face language problems

8:35 pm on 20 October 2009

Solomon Islands' Ministry of health says there have been some problems with doctors sent from Cuba, but the issues are being resolved.

A review of Solomon Islands' National Referral Hospital found the doctors, who are working in the country under an agreement between Cuba and the Solomon Islands Government, speak little English, and can't communicate with patients.

Dr Cedric Alependava, the under secretary for health improvement, says the problem is being alleviated because the doctors are learning pidgin.

He says in the meantime they are unable to work after hours.

"We thought they were going to work after hours to relive some pressure on our local doctors but because they are not working after hours there does seem to be a little bit of complaint. But then we are more or less utilising them on public health programmes and outreach programmes. Pretty soon they'll be on board on after hours, because they are now beginning to speak Pidgin and understand [how] to communicate with local people."

Dr Cedric Alependava says a dermatologist from Cuba is expected to arrive in Solomon Islands soon.