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#1849: Cuba to send more doctors to Haiti under aid pact (fwd)


Cuba to send more doctors to Haiti under aid  pact 
 12:56 p.m. Jan 14, 2000 Eastern By Chris Chapman 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Cuba will send 260 more healthcare
workers to Haiti and create a boat-building programme for Haitian
fishermen under a new agreement to  provide technical assistance to its
impoverished Caribbean neighbour, an Haitian official said. The
agreement was reached in a three-day meeting in Port-au-Prince between
Cuban and Haitian government ministers. Anthony Dessources, Haiti's
Minister for Planning and  External Cooperation, told Reuters on
Thursday the meeting was ``thoroughly positive'' and focused on health
and agriculture.The document signed by Dessources and the Cuban Minister
of Fishing, Orlando Rodriguez Romay, allowed for an increase in      
the number of Cuban health professionals working in Haiti from the
present 540 to 800 by March. ``The Cuban health professionals --
doctors, nurses and  laboratory technicians -- give us the possibility
of providing  health care across the whole of the country,'' Dessources
said.  Cuba will also send four ``school boats'' to Haiti to provide
 training for Haitian fishermen and set up a programme to construct 100
fiberglass boats that will allow Haitian fishers to  extend their range
of activity, Dessources said.  Also discussed were Cuban technical
assistance to Haiti's Faculty of Agronomy; support for Haiti's sugar
processing  industry; linguistic exchanges; cooperation to encourage
tourism; and plans for a joint Cuban-Haitian soap opera. 
`I hope the meeting sends a signal to our other partner countries,
because Haiti will need financial assistance to put some of these
programmes into practice,'' Dessources said. Haiti is the poorest nation
in the western hemisphere with   average annual per capita income of
about $250. The first such meeting took place in Havana in November 1998
and a third is planned for November of this year.