HAVANA._ British ambassador in Cuba, Tim Cole, praised the participation of the Cuban medical brigade in fighting the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa.
The diplomat told The Havana Reporter that „many countries in the world need the aid of countries like Cuba, which have good health services and specialists willing to work in places under crisis situations such as Pakistan, Haiti, and now Dominica, after it was recently hit by the tropical storm Erika.”
“It’s fascinating to know that Cubans –and there were many Cubans there- were in Sierra Leone working together with British personnel at Ebola treatment health centers”, commented Cole.
He added: “They show a very good example and my government has learned a lot about what we can do together with the Cuban government, it is something to be taken into consideration in the future”.
The British Embassy organized a talk with members of the Henry Reeve Contingent, which is made up of doctors specializing in the fight against disasters and serious epidemics and who helped fight Ebola in Western Africa.
The medical contingent bears the name of a young U.S. soldier who was brigadier general of the Cuban Liberation Army by the time he was killed in combat during the Cuban pro-independence wars against the Spanish colonialism.
Except for people in the province of Camagüey where he was known as ‘Henry the American’, he was nicknamed ‘The Young Brit’ both by Cubans and Spaniards across the rest of the island.
The medical contingent was created in September 2005 after Hurricane Katrina pounded the U.S. City of New Orleans, when 10,000 Cuban doctors offered to help the U.S. people.
Teams of that contingent have ever since helped countries in humanitarian crises such as Guatemala, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bolivia, Peru, Mexico, China, El Salvador, Chile and Haiti. In total they have aided 27 countries with 44 brigades.
Faced with the Ebola epidemic broke out, Cuba sent 256 health professionals to Guinea-Conakry, Liberia and Sierra Leone to help fight the deadly disease.
All the doctors and nurses chosen to make up the Cuban medical brigade had previous experience (up to 15 years) in solidarity missions but never in fighting Ebola. Hence, they had intensive training courses at the Pedro Kourí Tropical Medicine Institute in Havana before leaving for Western Africa.
Since Cuba first offered its medical cooperation in 1963 by sending a contingent to Algeria, millions of people from 158 countries have been benefitted from the solidarity work of some 325,710 Cuban health workers.Share on FB Share on TT