Our unique army, the Cuban White Army, embraces the humanistic essence of Che

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Our unique army, the Cuban White Army, embraces the humanistic essence of Che
Fecha de publicación: 
24 September 2020
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June would be a very tough month. The COVID-19 pandemic was ravaging Venezuela — as well as the rest of the region — and there was serious concern about the high rate of SARS-CoV-2-infected people by then, with red flags raised in states like Zulia, where respiratory distress was a problem at the corporate and community level.

In this context, dozens of Brigades of Cuban health professionals were formed, which would be then deployed in the Red Zone giving priority to the caring of patients in critical or serious conditions. These patients were those in greatest need. So, the goal of Cuban health workers was to help stop, along with other members of the Cuban Medical Brigade already working in that country and Venezuelan colleagues, the spreading of the pandemic.

The fourth Brigade Ernesto Che Guevara, made up of 51 experienced health professionals, specialists in Intensive Care, nursery, laboratory, imaging, and Electro-medicine engineering, would arrive in the state of Zulia to contribute with the caring of patients with acute respiratory distress and high viral load. A young man of 34 years old heads the group. He was trained as specialist in critical care and emergency medicine in the municipality of Manzanillo, Granma. Dr. Arián Jesús Cuba Naranjo, with whom we had a conversation via WhatsApp, gave us details on the impact of the work carried out so far.

What is your opinion on the work carried out by the Brigade since its creation?

“It has been a work full of great effort and risks targeting a common goal: to get patients needing medical care — no matter the degree of severity or lung and systemic conditions — to return home with their children and resume their social life. Suffering is something normal in a deadly disease. However, we have discharged a great deal of patients with effort and sacrifice. In the first 60 days of work, a total of 50 patients in critical condition were treated whereas medical discharges exceeded 50%, being the only medical discharges in COVID-19-infected patients at the Maracaibo Hospital; our ward is also the only one applying the weaning process to ventilated patients who have been successfully discharged. This has been much appreciated and relatives are grateful to our health personnel. Our efforts have been also appreciated by the community to the point that the population wants their relatives to be treated by us in the medical center. We are really proud of this situation, which encourages us to continue saving lives.”

What does it mean for our health professionals to be engaged in a mission like this, especially in the front line against the pandemic?

“Being engaged in this mission has been very important for us professionally. We have had the opportunity to treat patients at the highest severity peak of the SARS-CoV-2 disease. This way, we have achieved a high degree of expertise in the intensive care field, where conditions caused by the virus are completely new in relation to any pathophysiological, clinical, radiation, and analytical stage known in other conditions, which stands to be actually a great professional challenge demanding consistent training. We have also contributed with our expertise and approaches related to ventilators and other sort of therapies.”

How are our collaborators feeling today?

“We have been working hard and caregivers have remained united, with great spirit. They are really professionals. We have dedicated lots of hours to this job, but having a common source of energy: our eagerness to preserve the life of people whose well-being depends on us. Of course, there have been also difficult times but we remain strong and positive looking forward to continue this task, with our revolutionary soul as our driving force to provide medical care wherever we are needed.

Any final message?

Well, I would like to thank the board of directors of the Cuban Medical Mission in Venezuela as they allowed me to be part of this brigade, which is now part of my professional training as well as my growth as a human being. It is an honor and I am very proud to represent my country, my Revolution, and my profession especially in times where mankind is navigating through troubled waters. I would like to thank my parents as they are the cornerstone in my quest to become a doctor. They helped me to be part of this great and unique white coat army of Cuba, which honors its name as it spreads the humanistic essence of great men like Che.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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