Colleagues of a Ghanaian medical student in Cuba who passed away on Friday say they believe his death “could have been prevented”.
Erasmus Klutse, a second-year student at the Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (ELAM) in Cuba, died on May 7 in the Caribbean country’s capital, Havana, after joining his friends to play his most-liked sport, basketball.
Klutse was a medical student on Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) scholarship, and his colleagues say the harsh living conditions in Cuba led to his death.
The Ghanaian medical students in Cuba have since called on their government back home to come to their rescue, saying that the GNPC and the Ghana Scholarships Secretariat have delayed in sending their stipends for months now.
Eugene Oko Richman, a member of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) executive committee in Cuba, said in an interview with Ghanaian media Class FM that Klutse lost his life because the Cuban government failed to send an ambulance during a medical emergency.
“Just this last Friday, we lost a student of ours, a brother, Erasmus Klutse and one of the reasons why we lost him was because of the poor health treatment that we’ve been receiving,” Richman said. “And the issue that we have is that the mission here has made it very easy for the Cubans not to make us a priority when it comes to our health because if they had sent an ambulance to him, we feel that his death could have been prevented.”
“So, that’s the reason why we are agitated and we are calling that there should be measures put in place to that things like this could be prevented”, he added.
A statement by the student body said Klutse “was a joy to all who knew him”. Stressing that his death was “preventable”, the statement outlined key issues that have reportedly been overlooked by the stakeholders in charge of the welfare of the Ghanaian students in Cuba.
Meanwhile, the GNPC Foundation says stipends to the medical students in Cuba have delayed because there is a disagreement over the mode of payment. It said students want to be paid cash in hand, which is against financial protocols.
The remains of Klutse will be flown back to Ghana after an autopsy is done.