China today announced the completion of the first of two hospitals built in record time in Wuhan only to isolate and treat cases of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus epidemic and its consequent pneumonia.
The Huoshenshan center will begin receiving patients from tomorrow and will be managed by 1,400 members of the People’s Liberation Army approved this Sunday by the president of the country and the Central Military Commission, Xi Jinping.
Among its staff will be specialists with experience in the fight against the epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and that of Ebola in Africa.
The construction of the sanitarium has been extended since January 25, covers an area of 34 thousand square meters and has the capacity to accomodate a thousand people.
Images from the local press show the arrival of military commands, equipment work and the installation of remote diagnostic systems.
On Thursday, a similar second hospital in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, should also begin operations, while Beijing, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Guiyang City also set up facilities specializing in respiratory disease.
Experts predict that the epidemic would peak in the following days and then begin to decrease the mass infection of individuals.
The prognosis takes into account the incubation period of the 2019-nCoV strain, which lasts 14 days.
Therefore, it is expected that there will be a time when the new patients will be quarantined and others will already be cured, which would reduce the risk of spreading in the middle of the mass return of citizens after the Lunar New Year holidays.
The coronavirus epidemic and its pneumonia covers all of China and left at least 304 deaths and 14 thousand 411 infected since it broke out last December in the capital of the Hubei province.
Nations in Asia, Europe, North America, the Middle East and Oceania account for a total of 140 cases, mostly among Chinese travelers from Wuhan, and this Sunday the Philippines reported that one died and thus became the first death recorded abroad.
According to statistics, 328 people were discharged from the Asian giant, but they run the risk of becoming ill again if they do not comply with health recommendations, prevention and control measures.
The complexity of the epidemiological situation led the World Health Organization to declare Thursday the international emergency, with the concern that it will spread to countries with weak health systems.
The Chinese military is sending 1,400 medical staff, some with experience from the previous Sars and Ebola outbreaks, to treat coronavirus patients in Wuhan. Photo: AP
As MINREX warned in a statement released August 29, 2019, the United States government has, since last year, been waging an intense, offensive campaign against the medical collaboration Cuba provides, along with threats of sanctions against Cuban leaders and pressure on recipient states to end such cooperation.
Directed in detail by the National Security Council at the White House, the campaign has the active participation of Senators and Representatives associated with the anti-Cuban mafia in Florida and rabid State Department officials.
They accuse Cuba of alleged “modern slavery” and “trafficking in persons,” referring to Cuban health system professionals, for the purpose of their exploitation and alleged interference in the internal affairs of the nations in which they are located.
Active efforts to incite defection
The U.S. government is also attempting to re-establish the so-called “Parole Program for Cuban Medical Professionals,” in existence until January 12, 2017, as the basis for active efforts to incite defection, offering to pay for travel and legal services, provision of U.S. visas and documents to collaborators in third countries, with the purpose of sabotaging bilateral agreements signed with these nations, depriving them of our services and depriving Cuba of highly qualified human resources.
In May of 2019, the secretary general of the Organization of American States organized a conference at its headquarters on the alleged crimes against humanity committed by Cuba in connection with our medical cooperation abroad.
In June, the State Department, in its 2019 Report on Trafficking in Persons, disparaged Cuba’s international medical cooperation and, a month later, imposed visa-restriction sanctions on Cuban officials linked to medical missions.
$3m earmarked for projects against Cuba’s medical brigades
Later, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), a U.S. institution that provides funds for subversion programs against the Cuban government, earmarked three million dollars for projects directed against Cuba’s medical brigades abroad.
This U.S. persecution began in Latin America and has forced the suspension of cooperation programs in Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia.
The servile, fascist Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro insulted and abruptly expelled our specialist doctors who, under a tripartite agreement with the Pan American Health Organization, effective August 2013 through November 2018, treated 113,359,000 patients in more than 3,600 of the country’s municipalities, and provided permanent coverage to 60 million Brazilians.
In our country, 1,214 Brazilian students have completed medical school.
This decision allowed Bolsonaro to demonstrate his subservience to the U.S. government, while dismantling a program for low-income families, as part of a brutal policy to eliminate social gains made during progressive Workers Party governments.
Senior U.S. officials have used the slander that Cuban medical brigades in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela are military troops, which Bolsonaro parroted, in September of 2019, during his speech in the United Nations General Assembly, maliciously or ignorantly tripling, in a ridiculous manner, the false, unfounded figure used by Washington.
Officials from the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and U.S. embassies have turned to national authorities, as in Guatemala, to peremptorily and suspiciously request precise data on Cuban medical cooperation, looking for a way to eliminate it.
In May of 2019, the U.S. embassy in Ecuador asked senior government officials for detailed information on agreements and services provided by Cuban collaborators. Five months later, the Ecuadorian government terminated these programs precipitously, despite their imminent expiration, citing economic reasons.
6,749,666 medical consultations by Cuban health professional in Ecuador
Since the beginning of medical collaboration in this country, a total of 3,565 Cuban health professionals have provided their services, including 6,749,666 medical consultations, 212,360 surgeries, 3,548 births assisted, and 100,084 vaccinations administered. Some 153 collaborators participated in Operation Miracle, a program through which 168,543 surgical interventions were performed. As a result of the Manuela Espejo Solidarity Mission, 825,576 people were assisted, 35,257 of them in specialized neurophysiology and otorhinolaryngology consultations and 21,062 patients underwent clinical genetic studies.
2093 Ecuadoreans completed medical studies in Cuba
Additionally, 2093 young Ecuadorians completed medical studies in Cuba.
In October, Ecuador’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested information on the purpose of trips to the country by a group of Cuban citizens carrying diplomatic and official passports. Later, the Minister of Government offensively declared that several Cubans, associated with cooperation agreements, had participated in protests by the Ecuadorian people against the implementation of neoliberal measures, at that time.
As has been shown, no Cuban participated in or organized these massive popular demonstrations, and not a single official or diplomatic passport was improperly used. The manipulators have not been able to present a single piece of evidence.
The Cuban state issues diplomatic, official and service passports, in accordance with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, and guarantees that the holders comply with what is established for their proper use.
Hostile actions against Cuban collaborators in Bolivia
During the coup in Bolivia, the U.S. embassy in La Paz instigated, conducted, and participated in hostile actions by police forces and, surprisingly by firefighters, against Cuban collaborators. As was publicly denounced, U.S. officials participated directly in these acts, using a U.S. diplomatic car with license plate 28 CD-17.
During these days, there were 26 serious incidents against our collaborators, including the beating of two; public incitement to violence by coup authorities; brutal searches of their persons, belongings and homes; false accusations; the arbitrary, temporary detention of 50 health workers, four for several days.
Faced with this situation, the Cuban government was forced to proceed with the immediate withdrawal of our personnel, while energetically condemning the false statements of the so-called minister of Health, named by the coup-plotters, who shamelessly exaggerated the value of stipends earned by Cuban medical specialists, in reality lower than those of Bolivian general practitioners, and concealing the fact that Cuba did not receive a penny as compensation for this cooperation.
The Cuban medical brigade in Bolivia, 54% female, was composed of 406 doctors in 32 specialties, including General Integral Medicine, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Gynecology and Obstetrics, Anesthesiology and Reanimation, Ophthalmology, General Surgery, Orthopedics and Traumatology, Intensive and Emergency Medicine, Neonatology, among others. Also performing outstanding work were 258 graduates in health technologies such as imaging, endoscopy, electromedicine, clinical lab testing, rehabilitation and nursing.
73,330,447 consultations by Cuban health professional in Bolivia
Over the years, they provided 73,330,447 consultations and 1,529,301 surgeries. Some 60,640 births were assisted; 22,221 vaccinations administered; and 508,403 ophthalmic surgeries performed.
5,184 Bolivian doctors graduated from Cuban universities
Additionally, some 5,184 Bolivian doctors graduated from Cuban universities.
The persecution and search for information has included attempts to interrogate Cuban personnel by U.S. “diplomats” in the very health centers where they work, including in North Africa and the Middle East.
It is immoral and unacceptable to question the dignity, professionalism and altruism of the more than 400,000 Cuban health care collaborators who, over 56 years, have completed missions in 164 nations.
They have made outstanding contributions to the fight against Ebola in Africa, against blindness in Latin America and the Caribbean, and cholera in Haiti; in 26 brigades from the Henry Reeve International Contingent of Doctors Specialized in Disasters and Major Epidemics, in Pakistan, Indonesia, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Venezuela, among others.
With the same disinterest and dedication, 35,613 health professionals from 138 countries have been trained free of charge in Cuba.
In the case of nations with less favorable economic conditions, Cuba assumes practically the entire cost of collaboration. Similarly, and in line with United Nations conception of cooperation between developing countries, our support is offered in other nations on the basis of complementarity and partial compensation for services provided.
The Cuban technicians and professionals who participate in these programs do so absolutely of their own free will. During the performance of their missions, they continue to receive their full salary in Cuba, and also a stipend in the country of destination, along with other benefits.
When Cuba receives compensation for our cooperation, these collaborators are meritoriously providing a fair and totally legitimate contribution to the financing, sustainability and development of our country’s free, universal health system, accessible to all Cubans, as well as to cooperation programs provided free of charge, in many parts of the world.
As we stated last August 29, access to health care is a human right. The U.S. campaign against our international medical cooperation is a disgraceful, criminal act against peoples in need of medical assistance, which cannot overshadow the solidarity and human contribution of the 29,000 Cuban health care professionals, who, with enormous sacrifice and understanding on the part of their families, currently provide services to 65 nations.
The attitude of the United States government in this matter is despicable. Cuba’s response is firm: we will continue to save lives, to seek health and well-being for the world, within the limits of our possibilities, wherever we are requested.
Cuban Ambassador, Inés Fors Fernández, Jamaica’s Chief Nursing Officer, Patricia Ingram-Martin and Cuban Health Professionals
Authorities at the Ministry of Health and Wellness of Jamaica along with Cuban Ambassador to Jamaica, Inés Fors Fernández, officially welcomed at the office of this institution in New Kingston, St. Andrew, a group of forty Cuban health professionals who will render their services in Jamaica for the next three years.
The medical professionals will help to ease the problems created by the shortage of health care professionals in the country, especially doctors, nurses and technicians, including imaging technologists and will be assigned in different localities across the island.
In June, the ministry confirmed that it would process 212 nurses, 108 doctors, and 24 technicians. It also said a further 30 doctors would be given lessons in English to see whether or not they would also be processed, while nine technicians would do additional English lessons to see if they qualify.
At the welcoming ceremony, the Cuban ambassador to Kingston, Inés Fors, urged the doctors to keep up the ethical and professional values of medicine in the Greater Antilles.
Some 18 specialists are part of the “Miracle Mission”, within which some 16,000 operations have been carried out to improve or restore sight to Jamaicans with few resources.
The integration of Cuban professionals in Jamaica began in the 1970s when Cuban doctors and nurses joined their Jamaican counterparts in the healthcare sector of the country; when Cuban builders and engineers joined Jamaican workers and engineers in the construction of educational institutions and micro-dams, and when Jamaica/Cuba co-operation in sports and culture was birthed.
In 1976, the first medical brigade of 14 doctors arrived in Jamaica under a technical cooperation agreement. According to official data, in more than 40 years of work in Jamaica, Cubans have saved 2,541 lives, have applied 73,331 doses of vaccines, performed 30,761 surgical interventions and have offered more than 1.4 million consultations.
This latest importation of Cuban medical personnel will mark the largest number of medical recruits at any one time in Jamaica’s history.
President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks on direct engagement among African-Caribbean and Pacific countries during his state visit to Cuba, March 16, 2018. /PSCU
Kenya has announced that they will bring 100 Cuban medical specialists to fill gaps in county hospitals after Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta ended a short visit to the Caribbean island.
One of President Kenyatta’s “Big Four Agenda” objectives is to implement universal health care for Kenyans, and that’s why medical assistance was one of their main discussion points during their visit to Havana.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman said Kenya had struck an agreement to bring in 100 medical specialists – with each county getting at least two – and that 50 doctors will be sent to Cuba for specialised training.
Kenya will also work with Cuba on collaborative research projects, develop training for primary healthcare workers and collaborate to build capacity to undertake genetic engineering and biotech work.
What we discovered is that Cubans are very concerned and very dedicated to research and have a very strong research department and they have had many firsts, they have eliminated malaria from the face of Cuba all together,” said Mohamed Ali, the governor of Marsabit, who also visited the island along with Kenyatta.
Ali also said they would bring livestock vaccines from Cuba to help Kenyan pastoralists without damaging the environment.
“Timelines are as soon as possible,” said Aman, who was part of the delegation that accompanied Uhuru to the Caribbean nation globally known for its leadership in primary healthcare.
Cuban doctors will need to be cleared by the Kenya Medical and Dentists Practitioners Board but Governors Anyang Nyong’o of Kisumu and Mohamed Ali of Marsabit, who were also in the delegation and back the deal, said they expected no problems.
Nyong’o had been to Cuba twice before when he served as minister in the Grand Coalition Government. He had been been party to health cooperation agreements that were never implemented.
The Governor said he wants swift implementation of the plan because health is at the epicentre of a growing Kenya.
The President ordered Aman to remain in Cuba until he delivers an agreement with extensive detail on cooperation with Cuba.
Essentially, the agreement will cover a raft of critical areas. These include the secondment by the Cuban government of doctors to Kenya to fill crucial gaps in county hospitals and that of technical experts to operate equipment.
It also covers participation in research and advanced trials of medicines in areas in which Kenya is vulnerable. This will be through the use of therapeutic anti-HIV and anti-prostate cancer vaccines; vaccines to control influenza and meningitis; and control of diabetic foot ulcer amputation.
It will also cover the vector control in the fight against malaria.
Kenya will also look to Cuba for vaccines against ticks, guaranteeing healthy animals and cleaner environment due to a reduction of chemicals used in tackling ticks at the moment.
The sum total of these agreements is that Cuban experts will come to Kenya within the next few weeks and roll out a range of medical interventions that will radically change how we manage a large number of life-threatening diseases.
If the recent political handshake had the potential to change political discourse, the agreement with Cuba will be of seismic proportions when it comes to the management of Kenya’s healthcare systems.
The key approach for the Cubans concerns preventive measures so the country stops the spread of disease before the economy is drained.
Collaboration with Cuba is likely to become a major strategy in how Kenya deals with the preventive options in disease management. The main goal is saving billions of shillings that go to global pharmaceutical majors each year for treatment, at the cost of growing the economy and delivering shared prosperity to all.
Experts from 83 countries will participate in the International Conference Cuba Salud 2018, to be held from April 23rd to 27th at the Havana”s Conference Center, said organizers today.
The event, which will also be attended by 44 ministers of this field, is outlined as a forum for scientific discussion to exhibit progress and challenges in issues such as quality of care, international cooperation, medical training and comprehensive health care.
It will also discuss the current public policies, strategies, organization and the economic bases on which health actions are based and the need to improve the population’s health as a key role for social development.
President of the scientific commission Pastor Castel said in a press conference that the countries with highest amount of representatives are Cuba, Brazil, Colombia and the United States.
Panels, round tables, lectures and the launching of a new edition of the Pan American Journal of Public Health dedicated to Cuban achievements are included in the event’s agenda.
For his part Cristian Morales, representative of WHO/PAHO in Cuba, said that during the event, the Week for Vaccination in the Americas will take place, seeking to wipe out the gap amid regional programs.
Officials have said the outbreak was linked to contaminated sausage and warned South Africans not to consume “ready to eat” processed meat. The UN said the listeria outbreak is believed to be the largest-ever worldwide.
South Africa’s Health Ministry said on Sunday that a listeriosis outbreak has killed 180 people in the country since the beginning of 2017.
Officials also announced that the outbreak was tied to a sausage-type meat that is made by South Africa’s largest consumer foods group.
The meat, known as “Polony,” is produced by Tiger Brands, a unit of Enterprise Food, and by RCL Foods, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said.
“We can now conclude scientifically that the source of the present outbreak is the Enterprise Food production facility located in Polokwane,” Motsoaledi said.
He added that “Polony” would be recalled from stores and advised South Africans “to avoid all processed meat products that are sold as ready-to-eat.”
Although RCL Foods had not yet been identified as a source of the contaminated meat, one of its factories was also under investigation.
Massive outbreakListeriosis is an infection which is most frequently caused by the bacteria listeria which is found in water, soil, vegetation and animal feces.
The bacteria can contaminate food — particularly dairy products, fresh meat and seafood — but can be prevented by washing food and basic hygiene.
Listeriosis results in flu-like symptoms as well as nausea, diarrhea, and infection of the bloodstream. In severe cases, it can lead to an infection of the brain. Children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are at a heightened risk.
South Africa’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) said there have been 948 cases of listeriosis since January 1, 2017.
The outbreak is believed to be one of the largest-ever worldwide, according to the United Nations.