14ymedio/EFE, Havana, 6 July 2020 — Three medical brigades from the ‘Henry Reeve’ international contingent left Havana on Sunday for three countries in Africa to help combat Covid-19, the official press reported.
Of the 111 health professionals that make up the three Cuban health brigades, 76 will be stationed in Equatorial Guinea, while 19 specialists will carry out their mission in Sierra Leone and another 16 will do so in São Tomé and Principe, according to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“In a context that imposes cooperation and solidarity, our health professionals honor the historical ties that unite us to these nations,” wrote Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez on his Twitter account.
Cuba has sent health brigades to nine countries in Africa to help combat the health emergency imposed by the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic.
The first group of Cuban doctors and nurses to provide assistance to another country after the appearance of Covid-19 remained for more than two months in the Italian region of Lombardy, the one most affected by the pandemic in Italy.
Since then, 3,440 health workers in 38 medical brigades have traveled to more than 30 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, at the request of the authorities of those nations, to fight the pandemic.
The Henry Reeve contingent — specialized in disasters and serious epidemics — was created by Fidel Castro in 2005 to help the state of New Orleans after the devastating passage of Hurricane Katrina, although Washington rejected the assistance.
Members of that group helped control the Ebola epidemic in Africa and their work was recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) with an award in 2017. The Government and some groups promote an international campaign that supports the nomination of the brigades. for the next Nobel Peace Prize.
Meanwhile, complaints are raining down against the type of exploitation that these medical missions entail, in which the State pockets between 70% and 90% of the salaries of the health workers, who are also subject to strict control measures to prevent escapes, despite which, they continue to occur.
One of the most recent and famous is the departure of one of the leaders of the brigade in Andorra, a military doctor with political family members, who deserted in the European Principality with a nurse.
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