Miladys has never wanted to give an interview. But with her nurse's uniform all in white, her cap and that smile that scares away any patient's anguish, she has been in bad and good places.
As for her it’s "the most natural thing", there’s no way that she agrees to tell her experiences. Probably, this is the case with most Cuban nurses, for whom daily heroism is a run-of-the-mill day, for this reason, perhaps many pages to be written.
But the citizens of this Island don’t forget, and in the book of our memory will forever remain, also for future generations, how much these personnel have done –they are more than 85 000-, whose dedication and essential work has allowed, together with all the workers in that sector, to save many lives and protecting the health of so many others.
Since the appearance in 1899 of the first professional nursing schools in Cuba, this task has become increasingly necessary and after the triumph of the revolution in January 1959, there has been no vaccination campaign without the role of nurses; also with their contribution was attainable the Family Doctor and Nurse program.
These are just two examples, but probably each and every one of us Cubans have something to thank a nurse for.
If we go back in time to the last two years, then to the gratitude we must add a lot of applause because this country wouldn’t have been able to face the pandemic and exhibit its current and laudable results today if it hadn’t been for the nursing staff, who didn’t hesitate to challenge dangers and keep their distance from their loved ones to love many other Cubans from a professional dedication that disregarded fears and fatigue.
Discipline, organization, and mobilizing capacity distinguished Cuban nursing in those hard times of Covid, whose altruism went beyond the borders not only of their provinces of residence, but also of this country to offer their knowledge in other parts of the world as part of the solidarity aid Cuba offered and still offers to many peoples of the world.
In 2020, for the first time in the history of Cuban medical and nursing collaboration, there were more than a thousand professionals in this specialty in the Henry Reeve Brigades.
For all this and more, they well deserved the recognition that, on the eve of this International Nursing Day - when it’s celebrated the birth of one of the founders of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale - the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) by recalling that "in the region of the Americas, nurses, and midwives play an essential role in achieving health results due to their experience, size of the workforce and their reach in remote areas, vulnerable towns and minority groups”.
In this region there are some 9 million nursing professionals, who represent more than 56% of the total human resources for health, and also on the occasion of this anniversary, PAHO called for the joint strengthening of this health body.
Among other reasons, because this geographic area continues to be one of the most unequal worldwide, with millions of people without access to fundamental health services, including preventive and palliative care in which nursing is decisive.
Happily, Miladys, the one who doesn’t want to be interviewed, and the rest of Cuban nurses, here in Cuba don’t live those realities, but human pain still moves them to the last fiber.
In these fateful days marked by the incident at the Saratoga hotel, there are countless members of that staff who have added their efforts to the care of the injured. Dr. Ifrán Martínez Cárdenas, deputy surgical director at Calixto García General Teaching Hospital, recalled how, upon learning about the accident, doctors and also nurses who were already leaving because they had finished their shift, returned immediately, «...everyone returned to attend to patients".
"Shin up, save our people," Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel told doctors and nurses at that hospital when he appeared there the same day of the event.
Along with the doctors, the nursing staff has also improved and continues to improve today.
Therefore, Cuba today applauds its nurses, although it seems to all of them "the most ordinary thing" to stay with patients, forgetting rest and family commitments because their only commitment, now and always, has been to save our people.