Health care for all: Cuba beats US, UK in providing medical aid to Ebola-hit Africa

Havana, Dec 4: Guess which country is leading the aid services in Ebola-hit west Africa? It’s neither the United States or the UK, which have sent thousands of troops.

It’s a Latin American country – Cuba – which is leading the world in providing direct medical support, which is most urgently needed in the Ebola-hit region. Although the US and UK and many other countries have promised medical aid to west Africa, most of it is yet to be materialised.

The World Health Organisation has said that what Africa needs urgently isn’t troops, but health workers. The troops in the region are building hospitals and clinics.

Cuba, which has a population of just 11 million and official per capita income of $6,000 (£3,824), was the first country to send health workers to the Ebola-hit region, even before the WHO request came. the doctors and nurses from Cuba are in Africa since last October. They sent a team of doctors and nurses – 256 are already in the field, with another 200 volunteers on their way, said a Guardian report.

The media in the West has reduced Ebola coverage, but hundreds of British health service workers have volunteered to join the Cubans in west Africa. The first 30 arrived in Sierra Leone last week, said the report.

Cuban efforts

Reportedly, more than 6,000 people have already died due to the illness in west Africa.

The Cuban health workers have been working in the continent braving the risks and this has forced the British and US politicians to congratulate Cuba. Interestingly, for past many decades, the US has been trying to overthrow Cuba’s communist regime.

British PM John Kerry described the contribution Cuba “impressive”. The first Cuban doctor to contract Ebola has been treated by British medics, said the Guardian report. The US officials have even promised that they would “collaborate” with Cuba to fight Ebola.

Not the first time

Cuba has been in the frontline to provide medical relief to smaller and poorer Haiti, which was hit by a devastating earthquake in 2010. Then, Cuba sent the largest medical contingent to the island and took care for 40% of the victims.

When a strong earthquake hit Kashmir region in 2005, Cuba sent 2,400 medical workers to Pakistan and treated more than 70% of those affected. Apart from these, Cuba also left behind 32 field hospitals and donated a thousand medical scholarships, said the Guardian.

Posted by Aswathy, Oneindia News




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