Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Cuban Health Workers in Liberia

This World Health Organisation film looks at the first of the Cuban health workers who arrived in Liberia in October to help fight the Ebola outbreak. The Cuban team consists of nurses, doctors, epidemiologists and intensive care specialists. Having received an initial Ebola training in Cuba, all team members received a second training in Liberia on how to work in an Ebola treatment unit.

Friday, 21 November 2014

How Ebola Could End the Cuban Embargo

When was last time in recent memory a top US official praised Cuba publicly? And since when has Cuba’s leadership offered to cooperate with Americans?

It’s rare for politicians from these two countries to stray from the narratives of suspicion and intransigence that have prevented productive collaboration for over half a century. Yet that’s just what has happened in the last few weeks, as Secretary of State John Kerry and US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power spoke favorably of Cuba’s medical intervention in West Africa, and Cuban President Raúl Castro and former president Fidel Castro signaled their willingness to cooperate with US efforts to stem the epidemic.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

First Cuban doctor tests positive for Ebola in Sierra Leone

A Cuban doctor treating Ebola patients in West Africa is to be flown to Geneva after testing positive for the disease. The diagnosis comes after a seventh Sierra Leonean doctor died of the virus.

The doctor, identified by Cuban state media as Felix Baez, is part of the 165-member medical team Cuba sent to Sierra Leone in October to help fight Ebola. He is the first Cuban to contract the deadly virus.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

A Cuban Brain Drain, Courtesy of the U.S.

Secretary of State John Kerry and the American ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, have praised the work of Cuban doctors dispatched to treat Ebola patients in West Africa. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently sent an official to a regional meeting the Cuban government convened in Havana to coordinate efforts to fight the disease. In Africa, Cuban doctors are working in American-built facilities. The epidemic has had the unexpected effect of injecting common sense into an unnecessarily poisonous relationship.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Cuba's health diplomacy in the age of Ebola

Amid the worst Ebola outbreak of our time, it has been the small island nation of Cuba that has provided arguably the most impressive policy response.

Instead of offering financial assistance to those West African nations most in need, the Cuban government has focused on providing skilled healthcare workers passionate about helping Ebola victims.

The Cuban response is based on a combination of pre-existing government commitments to the provision of universal healthcare, the establishment of a medical education system emphasizing service to others, and Cuba's efforts to bolster its international reputation.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Cuba’s Ebola Diplomacy

Even in this age of international coalitions, the one arrayed against the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is impressive. In September, more than a hundred and thirty nations voted in favor of a United Nations Security Council resolution declaring the virus, which is rampant in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, a threat to international security and creating the U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, or UNMEER, devoted to fighting the virus. The mission was put under the control of Anthony Banbury, a veteran U.N. troubleshooter, who hoped to tackle the job without the red tape that often bogs down U.N. missions. Within a week, Banbury had assembled a team of international experts, selected from thousands volunteers from the U.N.’s myriad agencies, and headed off to kick-start operations at his new field headquarters, in Accra, Ghana.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Cubans First to Support Sierra Leone Fight

When the UN appealed to five world presidents for help fighting the deadly disease, Cuba was the first to respond. Bernard Regan reports

The Ebola virus is killing five people an hour in Sierra Leone according to Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive of Save the Children. Some 765 new cases were reported in the country in the last week in September and there were only 327 hospital beds in the whole country.

But this tragedy is not only unfolding in that nation.