Cuban Doctors Give Out Eye Treatment in Ecuador

Cuban doctor and community leader outside rural clinic in Guangaje. (Photo: teleSUR)

Cuban doctors, who have been present in Cotopaxi since 2006, are working to expand the Ecuadoran medical grid.
The central Ecuadoran province of Cotopaxi has since 2006 counted on a highly successful optometry clinic run by a Cuban medical brigade. People seeking adequate care from across the country have travelled to the city of Latacunga for consultations and treatment.

Patient Blanca Rosa Mora Caballero spoke to TeleSUR English about the difficulties she had finding adequate care before attending the clinic in Latacunga, “I came from Guayaquil to Quito looking for a way to get an operation, because they told me that I had a problem with cataracts, and that I had to have surgery.”

After staying with her son for four months while visiting clinics and hospitals in Quito, Mora met a Cuban doctor who referred her to the optometry clinic in Latacunga.

“So I started searching for care in the hospitals, in the clinics, and it is a very high price they have us pay. Too much, US$1 thousand, US$1,500 for each eye. And I did not have this. I am poor, and had no way to access an operation.”

After a consultation, Mora decided to seek care in Latacunga, a city seven hours north of her native Guayaquil. The optometry clinic in Latacunga has 75 to 80 consultations with 20 to 25 operations daily at no cost to patients.

The doctors, completing missions of two to three years, are among the 58 that are scattered across the Cotopaxi province, about 110 miles south of Quito, Ecuador’s capital, working in some communities that have not had previous access to medical care.

“The attention is very good, the doctors are very good, very attentive, so I feel very happy, content. Because I was a person who would sit, and I would sit to cry, because I could not move, I could not go places because I could not see. I could only see shadows. And now with the first operation I retook my life. I can now take care of myself,” said Mora on the care received at the clinic.

President Rafael Correa requested 1,000 doctors to be sent from Cuba by the end of this year, in an effort to expand the national medical grid.

Currently, 400 of them are operating in different parts of the country. With this influx, the total in Cotopaxi will be between 80 and 90, and the majority of these doctors will work in rural and remote locations to make healthcare accessible to all citizens.

There are currently 52,000 Cuban doctors working in 66 countries worldwide, as part of a larger government policy of internationalism and solidarity.

September 12, 2014


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