Cuban Doctors Have Saved 429,000 Lives in Haiti, Says Cuba’s President

A Cuban doctor attending to a Haitian family. Cuba’s medical mission to Haiti has been an exemplar of solidarity for 23 years.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, reviewing the decades of multifaceted cooperation between Cuba and Haiti, said that Cuban doctors have saved more than 429,000 lives in Haiti since the beginning of their medical collaboration with Haiti in December 1998 until December 2021.

“More than 6,000 Cuban health workers have accomplished their mission, carrying out more than 36 million consultations, including nearly 9 million pediatric consultations, more than 721,000 surgical operations, and more than 194,000 deliveries, thus saving more than 429,000 lives,” Díaz-Canel told the International Conference on Financing the Reconstruction of the Southern Peninsula of Haiti via video stream. The donors conference was held on Feb. 16 at Pétionville’s Karibe Hotel convention center.

The international community owes a huge debt to Haiti, the country where the first social revolution of the American continent took place, a feat for which the colonial powers have made it pay for over 200 years marked by military tyrannies as well as foreign looting and interventions, said Diaz-Canel, who rose to become Cuba’s lead statesman after a lifetime of communist activism.

“More than 1,649,000 doses of different vaccines have been administered as part of the prevention campaigns,” he added, and “1,129 Haitian health workers have been trained in Cuba.” Describing the Haitians as a noble and hard-working people, he said the country deserves and needs respect and support, adding that “we all have a moral obligation to provide substantial and disinterested cooperation to Haiti,” not only for the reconstruction but also to promote its sustainable development.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez spoke via video stream to the International Conference on Financing the Reconstruction of the Southern Peninsula of Haiti on Feb. 16.

“Cuba will continue to provide unconditional solidarity aid to Haiti, as it has done until today, including during the cholera epidemic and the earthquakes of 2010 and 2021,” he said. “Cuban specialists will maintain their commitment and their dedication in caring for the Haitian population.”

In August 2021, the 253 Cuban health professionals already working in Haiti were joined by a brigade of the “Henry Reeve” International Contingent, made up of 11 members, to support health care work in the areas most affected by the earthquake, said the Cuban president.

He recalled that Cuba has also collaborated in projects in the fields of education, sports, agriculture, fishing, construction, water resources, and the environment.

“In these difficult times, marked by a relentless fight against the pandemic and by the unprecedented tightening of the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the United States government on our people, we will not give up our vocation of solidarity and humanism,” Díaz-Canel stressed.

“We reiterate our willingness to support the vaccination campaign against COVID-19 in Haiti, through advice, and the availability of our vaccines,” he continued, recalling that on Jan. 27, Cuba told the Secretariat General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) that it was ready to donate 72,000 doses of the Cuban vaccines Abdala, Soberana 02, and Soberana Plus for the vaccination of 24,000 people in the Caribbean.

Diaz-Canel called on all governments, international organizations, and donors, without exception, to mobilize the necessary financial resources, transfer technologies, make capacity-building mechanisms viable, and fulfill commitments in terms of official development assistance for Haiti, “all with the strictest respect for Haiti’s sovereignty, people, government, and institutions,” he concluded.

A shorter French version of this article was first published by Enquet’Action.

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