What stood out in the speech Fidel gave October 17, 1962, during the inauguration of this institution of higher learning, was the vision. He spoke of preventative medicine, the eradication of diseases, infant mortality, and a health care system focused on the needs of the people. It was a vision that would be materialized in the near future by many of those first students.
The massive exodus of professionals in the early days of the Revolution created an especially difficult situation in the areas of health care and medical training. The urgent mission was to prepare highly qualified doctors and dentists on a massive scale, a goal undertaken with tenacity at the school which went on to become a reference, a bulwark, and symbol of the country's public health system.
Thus, the first tribute during the commemoration of the institutions 55th anniversary was to Fidel, the soul of the project that maintains its founding principles.
Then came the presentation of a commemorative medal to Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers and first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, accepted by Dr. José Ramón Machado Ventura, second secretary of the Party and a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers.
Other medals were awarded to doctors Machado Ventura, José Ramón Balaguer Cabrera, member of the Party Secretariat, and José Manuel Miyar Barruecos, Council of State official.
Attending the celebration, also dedicated to Che on the 50th anniversary of his death and to the 95 years of the Federation of University Students (FEU), were Mercedes López Acea, Party Political Bureau member and first secretary in Havana; and Minister of Public Health Roberto Morales Ojeda, among other leaders and authorities.
Dr. Mairim Lago Queija, dean of the Victoria de Girón, commented that maintaining the quality of the educational process based on scientific, ethical, and humanist principles is the institution's main challenge today.
Likewise, medical student Alexis Alejandro García Rivero, FEU president at the school, said, "Our first duty is to become good healthcare professionals and better human beings."
Minister Morales recalled that 80,000 students from 91 countries have passed through the school's classrooms, saying that the Victoria de Girón has made an exemplary contribution to the development of the country's public health system and recalled Fidel's congratulations on the institution's 50th anniversary
for fulfilling its duty. A commitment, he said, that is renewed everyday at the school.