Political leaders and citizens around the globe have reacted in various ways to the recent passing of Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro. Medical assistance and medical training were at the heart of Cuban-African relations during Fidel Castro’s leadership. Since 1963, approximately 77,000 Cuban doctors and other health workers have provided aid in 39 African countries. Now, there are more than 4,000 health professionals working in those 32 African nations.

Apart from medical training, and sending its own personnel to help African countries in many areas. During the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa,Cuba sent a large number of doctors and nurses to fight the epidemic.

In fact, with its first contingent of 62 doctors and 103 nurses, Cuba, a small Caribbean island contributed aid equivalent to that of the rest of the world combined. Furthermore, when other richer countries were slow to respond, Cuba sent an additional 400 specialists.

In an article published, Dr. Jorge Delgado Bustillo, the assistant director of the Central Medical Cooperation Unit, stated that Cuban specialists faced major challenges during this mission. Bustillo, the in charge of the brigade sent to Sierra Leone, described the intense preparation they received at the Pedro Kouri Institute of Tropical Medicine, with guidance from WHO and the Pan American Health Organization. Problems faced include the lack of laboratories.

Hence, Cuba generosity in sending aid to fight the Ebola outbreak was due to partly due to the leadership of Castro and his commitment towards healthcare. (Bah & Walker , 2016)

After approximately six months of fighting the Ebola virus in Liberia and Sierra Leone, 151 Cuban doctors and nurses return to Cuba. Photo by Enrique Ubieta Gómez with permission.

Source: Bah, A., & Walker , J. (2016). Remembering Castro’s Commitment to Healthcare and Beating Ebola in Africa. Retrieved from https://globalvoices.org/2016/12/18/remembering-castros-commitment-to-healthcare-and-beating-ebola-in-africa/

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