From Turkiye: doctors in solidarity

From Turkiye: doctors in solidarity
Fecha de publicación: 
7 March 2023
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All at once, last February 6 destruction, chaos, and death got hold of several cities in Turkiye. It was past four in the morning, a first 7.8 earthquake rattled southeast Turkiye and also, north Syria.

A few hours later, a 7.5 aftershock sealed the catastrophe in those nations. The tragic nightmare swept along 11 provinces of Turkiye in “the worst disaster occurred in that country in the last century,” according to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The huge grave in which those regions turned as well as the unbelievable image of buildings collapsing like pieces of paper made everyone shudder. As the hours went by, the number of victims grew. Today, there is an estimated number of 45,000 victims.

Almost simultaneously, global solidarity readied the help, which came in many ways. Human forces, technical and rescue teams, and material resources began to arrive to help the victims.

From the Caribbean, a small island did not wait much and immediately responded to the international request for help made by the Erdogan’s government.

Thus, in a few days, members of the Henry Reeve International Brigade of Doctors Specialized in Disaster Situations and Serious Epidemics arrived in the province of Kahramanmaras, one of those eleven provinces affected in the Eurasian country.

From that moment on, thirty collaborators are part of the shocking stories that happen on a daily basis, experiencing firsthand the pain and sadness of those affected.

About such experiences lived during those difficult days, CubaSí talks exclusively, via Internet, with Dr. Juan Carlos Dupuy, specialist in Clinical Laboratory and head of the group of professionals.

“The Cuban Medical Brigade in Turkey is made up of 32 collaborators. Of these, 19 are doctors, and nine, graduates. The staff is working in the central hospital of the provincial capital Fazil Shegir, in the Yurk Selim Hospital (two clinical-surgical institutions).

“In addition, we have a team providing assistance 100 miles away from the city of Kahramanmaras —capital of the province of the same name—, in the community of Buyuk Yapalak, in the municipality of Elbistan.

“Likewise, several family doctors and other experts go out daily in ambulances to provide medical care to the communities near this city of Kahramanmaras.

“The population has welcomed us fondly, which has exceeded our expectations. All the patients thank us with bows and gestures, such as placing their right hand on their chest as a sign of greater gratitude, as they tell us here.”

As for the number of patients cared by Cubans, Dupuy explained that, to date, this number goes to over 2,400 people in different specialties.

“Acute respiratory infections and hypertension stand out, the latter, related to the stress to which the majority of the population of the affected region has been subjected.

"Over 4,500 nursing procedures have also been carried out, and several surgical interventions in a group of cases directly and/or indirectly linked to earthquakes, especially in the orthopedics specialty."

Describing his view on what he experienced in Turkiye, the founder of the Contingent Henry Reeve reveals that "the impact has been great in the face of a devastating scenario."

The high numbers of deaths and the great impact on mental health contribute to the decompensation of diseases that are based on hypertension, heart disease and diabetes mellitus.

“Fortunately, we have had very good working conditions in the units where we are deployed, as well as the support and accompaniment of the Turkish medical and nursing staff at all times.

“In the same way, I want to highlight the assistance of the Cuban Ambassador in this country who, since our arrival in Istanbul, received us and accompanied us to the province where we work.

"On behalf of the brigade, I would also like to thank the Cuba Solidarity Group, whose members are essential in the translation work from Turkish to Spanish and vice versa, as well as the local and health authorities, the governor of Kahramanmaras and the coordinating center for the emergency."

Dr. Dupuy, founder of the Henry Reeve Contingent and the beautiful endorsement of internationalist solidarity that this entity of professionals houses, expressed his gratitude to the leaders and the Cuban people for the affection and respect professed towards the brigade.

“I would like to say you all that we will fulfill the mission and be here as long as it takes. Thank you very much."

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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