ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan-Cuba Parliamentary Friendship Group (PCPFG) held a seminar on Tuesday with a theme ‘The Cuban health model and what Pakistan can learn from it’. The seminar, held at the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services, was convened in order to raise awareness about the healthcare system of Cuba, which is renowned for its excellence and efficiency. The speakers included Friendship Group Convener Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Ambassador of Cuba, Gabriel Tiel Capote, National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Awais Leghari and Friendship Group Member Senator Shibli Faraz and Foreign Office DG Muhemmed Aejaz. In his welcome remarks, Senator Mushahid spoke of the exemplary model that Cuba had set for health care on a global scale. While highlighting in particular the role played by Cuba in extending aid to Pakistan when the 2005 earthquake occurred, he referred to the generous aid that Cuba has extended to numerous countries in similar times of need and talked about the strength of Cuba as a nation and as a role model in health and education for the third world countries. Senator Mushahid Hussain also discussed briefly the upcoming activities of the Friendship Group in the coming months including celebrating the birthdays of ‘Che’ Guevara and Fidel Castro during the summer, a Pakistan-Cuba Cultural Week, which would be held in October. Ambassador Capote who elaborated the cooperation extended by his country to Pakistan at that time reiterated the senator’s remarks. Awais Leghari discussed the differences between the Pakistani and Cuban healthcare systems, highlighting the areas where Pakistan could adapt to the successful system in place in the Latin American republic and advocated the need for a preventive approach to healthcare system in Pakistan. Dr Miqdad Hussain representing the Pakistan-Cuba Doctors Association, delivered a comprehensive presentation of the Cuban healthcare system, explaining in detail the structural elements and Cuban policies in this regard which had resulted in its success. A Cuban national, Yania Quintana Escalona, who is residing in Pakistan with her spouse Dr Miqdad, also briefly addressed the gathering and elaborated on her experience of life in the country. Karim Khan Afridi Welfare Foundation Founder Cristina Afridi also spoke about the issues pertaining to drugs, health and the Pakistani youth. Her talk addressed the issues being faced by the youth of country in particular and the need to adopt a proactive approach to dealing with this menace. Senator Shibli Faraz, who has lived in South America and is a fluent Spanish speaker, highlighted the importance of such forums to help generate awareness about not only Cuban culture and society, but the culture and society of Latin America as a whole. The representatives of diplomatic community, serving and former government representatives, members of the Spanish community in Islamabad, prominent health care professionals as well as students attended the seminar from the Spanish department of NUML.