Friday, 25 March 2011

Aristide grateful for work of Cuban doctors in Haiti

Source: Granma, 19 March 2011.

by Sinay Cespedes Moreno (in Puerto Principe).

The former Haitian president, Jean Bertrand Aristide, today welcomed the work of Cuban doctors, upon his arrival in Port-au-Prince after seven years of exile in South Africa.

In a press conference from the airport, the ex-president referred, in Spanish, to the work of the Cuban Medical Brigade in Haiti.

"I want to thank the Cuban brothers, especially the doctors who are in the fight against cholera," he said. He wondered, moreover, how many people would have died without their help and declared: "I hope their light will shine on others."

The Cuban medical brigade has been working in Haiti for 12 years, but increased its presence following the outbreak of cholera last October, along with dozens of graduates from the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM).

According to official statements, these doctors have treated about 40% of the patients with that disease, which has claimed more than 4,672 lives. Currently, Cubans and ELAM graduates are working in 156 health centers nationwide, 67 of them as part of a joint program with Venezuela.

Until earlier this month, experts had saved 70,890 Haitian cholera patients, with a fatality rate below 1%. (PL)