Thursday, 7 July 2011

Cuban Medical Brigade in Guatemala

Positive Results of Cuban Medical Brigade in Guatemala
Source: Prensa Latina, 04 Jul 2011.

The Cuban Medical Brigade (BMC) in Guatemala closed the first semester of 2011 with the satisfactory fulfillment of principles of solidarity and brotherhood between both peoples, national coordinator Reinaldo Pons stated.

Some 332 Cuban collaborators are still working in this country with a preventive-curative or clinical-epidemiological focus, which characterizes our training and the objectives of our work, Pons told Prensa Latina.

Retelling the first six months of 2011, the top leader of the island´s cooperation in this sphere said the contingent is comprised of 57 in Operation Miracle free eye surgery program, and 275 in the integral health plan.

Of them, 238 are physicians in different specialties, 81 in hospitals, 152 work in different primary care levels, and five in the ministry of the branch and the BMC central leadership.

So far, the collaboration covers 13.1 percent of the Guatemalan population, more than 1,939,000 people, distributed in 29 brigades in departments and municipalities, Pons noted.

Guatemalan Health Minister Calls Cuban Doctors Magicians
Source: Prensa Latina, 15 December 2010

Guatemalan Health and Social Welfare Minister (MSPAS) Marco Tulio Sosa requested enhancing medical services provided by the Cuban Medical Brigade (BMC) working in his country.

[H]e termed magicians the Cuban medical staff - doctors, nurses, engineers and statistic[ian]s - because of the results of their work.

Sosa, that runs the office from the government of President Alvaro Arzu (1996-2000), recalled that the BMC arrived in his country to mitigate the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch in 1998. Their work has been remarkable.

We realized that their work after the hurricane had to be extended past the emergency, taking their services to remote and distant locations. The Cuban brigades are giving Guatemalans "hope, assistance, love and plenty of health".

He recalled that district hospitals in 1998 and 1999 were just giving office services and the Cuban specialists brought them back to life providing services of internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, and gynecology, among others.

This is just a short story on the BMC but "rather than me as minister, the people is more than grateful with the Cubans. I christened them magicians, because of the personnel that repaired medical equipment already discarded, helping save more than USD$64,000 this year."

Minister Sosa also lauded the Cuban professionals' coverage that helped compensate the shortage of medical staff in remote areas of Guatemala, taking outpatient assistance to the poor and destitute in villages.

On the future of Cuba's medical cooperation here and over 600 Guatemalans that benefit with scholarships at the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) in Cuba, Sosa was optimistic and grateful to the Island.

Guatemala does not graduates enough doctors like Cuba, "this is why I sent youth, especially from rural areas to study at the ELAM but that does not pose a short -term threat to the presence of Cuban docs. That will still take a while," he added.

"Many years will pass because we will not allow gaps in the services the BMC currently provides. On the contrary, the population in remote areas already know what that is, in addition to accompaniment and prevention. Strengthening and boosting are enough," he added.

Minister Sosa regretted that Cuba was unable to meet Guatemala's official request to expand these services "due to the support it provides to many developing countries in Latin America and elsewhere."

"As long as Cuban Medical Brigades [are] necessary we will sustain and appreciate them," stressed Sosa who assured that Guatemala's public health system has [a] past and [a] present in view of the commendable work of the Cuban "magicians".