A Physiotherapist With Dengue Fever Dies Due to Lack of Ambulances in Santiago de Cuba

The Provincial Health Directorate remembered Elba Rosa López as a professional dedicated to her work, and as a loving mother. (Facebook/Elba Rosa López)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 9 September 2022 — Physiotherapist Elba Rosa López Nápoles, infected with dengue, died in the province of Santiago de Cuba after she couldn’t be transferred to a care center due to a lack of ambulances, her sister reported.

The Provincial Health Directorate of Santiago de Cuba sent condolences for her death and recognized her work in a Facebook post shared this Tuesday, accompanied by several photographs of the professional along with her colleagues from the Carlos Juan Finlay polyclinic, in the Songo La Maya municipality.

In a comment to the post, her sister Mercedes López Nápoles reported that they asked for an ambulance to take her to a provincial hospital but were told that she wasn’t reported in serious condition with dengue fever, nor did they have vehicles available.

“After she died, those words meant nothing, since no arrangements were made to transfer her to the provincial hospital. From my municipality, I called the SIUM (Integrated Medical Emergency System), and the coordinator replied that there was only one vehicle, in poor technical condition, and that it had to go to Los Reynaldos to locate a child who had dengue,” she wrote online.

This is the second member of the López Nápoles family to die in less than a month due to not receiving medical assistance. According to Mercedes López, the same thing happened with her brother, on August 19, although she didn’t specify if he was a victim of dengue. “Now, they can use all the words they want, but the fact is that they let them die,” she wrote.

For its part, the Provincial Health Directorate remembered Elba Rosa López as a professional dedicated to her work, and a loving mother. “If I kept talking about you, it would never end. It only remains to be said that the Carlos Juan Finlay La Maya polyclinic lost a warrior.”

Dengue, a highly contagious disease, once again tests the Cuban health system with hundreds of infections, and the Government still hasn’t confirmed exact figures.

In the State television program Roundtable on Thursday, the Deputy Minister of Public Health, Carilda Peña García, chose to refer to the Latin American figures provided by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which reveal that between the first and the 32nd weeks of 2022, there was an increase of up to 300% in dengue infections.

In its records from last year, the Ministry of Public Health reported that dengue was circulating in nine Cuban provinces but that, as of September, infections were reduced by 29.3% compared to 2020.

While hundreds of Cubans with the disease prefer to stay at home, “exported” infections have also skyrocketed: of the 100 cases of dengue reported this summer in Spain, two thirds were people who had traveled to Cuba; of the 123 positives in France, 44 came from the Island; and in Florida there were 193 cases out of the total of 216 with the same origin.

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.