In the six decades of Cuban medical collaboration abroad, its health personnel have treated 1,988 million people worldwide, almost a third of humanity, said Dr. Jorge Delgado Bustillo, director of the Central Medical Cooperation Unit (CMCU).
Delgado Bustillo also assured that Cuban doctors have performed more than 14 million 500 thousand surgical operations, have assisted four million 470 thousand child labors and have saved eight million 700 thousand lives, results that raise the prestige of Cuban medicine in the international arena.
Currently, when COVID-19 pandemic raises the death toll to thousands of people every day, more than 30,407 Cuban health professionals are present in 66 nations, distributed in permanent medical brigades and the Henry Reeve Contingent, said to CNA.
He asserted that at the request of governments, the medical personnel reached Europe for the first time, the Italian region of Lombardy and the city of Turin. They were also present in the Principality of Andorra and in dozens of nations in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
He also mentioned that of the 56 brigades that were formed to fight SARS-CoV-2, 25 are active, with nearly 2,500 collaborators.
The director of the CMCU said that this health emergency is not the first that Cuba has stepped forward, and recalled its presence after the earthquake in Pakistan, in year 2005, and in 2010 during another earthquake in Haiti and the cholera epidemic, when the Cuban doctors were the first to assist the victims and identified the disease in that country.
There were also 265 of our professionals in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea Conakry, during the Ebola outbreak in 2014, while another 12,000 volunteers from Cuba were willing to fulfill this mission, highlighted the official.
Delgado Bustillo emphasized that the Island has thousands of health professionals who go voluntarily to the most distant nations and under the most difficult conditions, without any pressure; it’s a spontaneous decision of every last one of them.
"It’s unfair to refer to Cuban medical cooperation as modern slavery, because internationalism integrates the genetic core of most of the collaborators," insisted the Cuban doctor; at the same time, he reiterated that the economic contribution they make to the country is conscious and to support the free health system, but that it costs the nation in raw materials, medicines, and equipment.
The history of brotherhood with other peoples goes as far back as 1960, when an quick-response brigade travelled to Chile to help in the southern city of Valdivia the victims of an earthquake that registered 9.5 on the Richter scale, the largest earthquake ever recorded in history.
Three years later, Cuban medical collaboration officially began with the dispatch of permanent brigades to the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, a nation that reached its independence after finishing an anti-colonial war against France.
Since then, Cuba has been present in more than 150 countries with more than 420 thousand health professionals.
Translated by: Amilkal Labañino Valdés / Cubasi Translation Staff