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CARIBBEAN | Cuba sends doctors to islands ravaged by Hurricane Irma

Featured Cuban doctors on a trip to Dominica to help after Tropical Storm Erika Granma Cuban doctors on a trip to Dominica to help after Tropical Storm Erika Granma
HAVANA, Cuba, Sep. 9, 2017 – Over 750 health workers from Cuba, have arrived in several islands ravaged by Hurricane Irma.
(photo credit - Granma newspaper)

They will maintain daily communication with Havana in order to stay informed about unfolding events, said Dr. Regla Angulo Pardo, director of Cuba’s Central Unit of Medical Cooperation.

Facing the most power hurricane to hover across the Caribbean in decades, “measures have been taken to preserve the lives of our 771 employees, and logistic assurances have been implemented,” the official said.

She noted that Cuba has sent medical brigades to six of the countries in the subregion that, in recent days, have been or will be in the the tropical storm's orbit. Those islands include Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Bahamas, Dominica and Haiti.

In Haiti, heavy rains forced nine of 23 total collaborators to evacuate their locations. However, the remaining medical staff are assisting local health authorities and serving residents.

Guidelines provided by Cuba's Ministry of Public Health, MINSAP, and corresponding embassies located on each island have kept members of the medical brigade safe and sound. The preparation has enabled staff to participate in subsequent recovery efforts.

"Collaboration with the Central Medical Cooperation Unit, together with the MINSAP Management Center and our embassies, have maintained communication to assess the damage and gauge what help our own collaborators can provide," Pardo added.

She emphasized that in Antigua and Barbuda, particularly in the latter island due to the hurricane's destruction of most of the infrastructure as well as 95 percent of homes, Cuba's 43 physicians weathered the storm unscathed and have joined recovery efforts.

Meanwhile, the UN World Health Organisation (WHO) and its regional arm the Pan American health Organisation (PAHO) said it would deploy persons with expertise in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health and disaster assessment to support the hurricane affected countries to help with the delivery of essential health services.

The nation of 11 million people has a history of sending medical staff when other nations are in need, having done so during west Africa's Ebola crisis in 2014 and 2015.

A brigade of more than 600 Cuban health workers went to Sierra Leone in 2014 to help tackle the crisis. 

They also sent 1,200 health workers to Haiti after the nation was hit with an earthquake in 2010.

Cuba’s international medical mission has won the socialist state many friends.

This tradition can be traced back to 1960, when Cuba sent a group of doctors to Chile, who had been hit by a powerful earthquake, followed by a team of 50 to Algeria in 1963.

Last modified onSunday, 10 September 2017 07:15
  • Countries: Cuba