Communist-run Cuba received a round of applause yesterday after it was shown that the country had dispatched a fleet of doctors and healthcare providers to Italy.
Since the 1959 revolution, the Caribbean country has sent Cuban medical personnel overseas to disaster sites around the world, particularly in poor countries.
Cuban medical internationalism is the Cuban program that has sent doctors to the most underserved corners of the world. Its broad sweep of mission program has seen the country attend to 37 countries in Latin American countries,33 African countries and 24 Asian countries. In the face of the 2010s Cholera outbreak in Haiti and West Africa, the Cuban doctors played a key part in the relief.
And while a — research study pointed out that the country has provided more medical personnel to the developing world than all the G8 countries combined, Cuba’s aid to Italy in the time of the Coronavirus pandemic is notably surprising. After all, this is the first time that Cuba has sent an emergency unit to Italy, one of the world’s richest countries and also the one worst affected by the disease. Cuba’s presence there demonstrates it’s import as a medical commodity.
On Monday, the Cuban doctors were seen arriving in Italy to assist in combatting Covid-19.
According to Reuters, this is the sixth medical group that Cuba has sent in recent days to fight the spread of the disease. Recently it sent contingents to doctors to its socialist allies Venezuela and Nicaragua. It also sent doctors to Jamaica, Suriname, and Grenada.
“We are all afraid but we have a revolutionary duty to fulfill, so we take out fear and put it to one side,” Dr. Leonardo Fernandez, an intensive care specialist from Cuba, told Reuters on Saturday. “He who says he is not afraid is a superhero, but we are not superheroes, we are revolutionary doctors.”
Cuba’s healthcare system was built with the help of its former Soviet Union ally but many of its advances have collapsed in the wake of the communist bloc’s fall.
In the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse, Cubans have bemoaned their lack of access to medicine, hospitals have become dilapidated.