Cuban brigade Henry Reeve, 15 years making history
By Mercy Ramos, photos: José Meriño
Created 15 years ago, the Henry Reeve Cuban Medical Brigade for Disaster Situations is, today, a faithful example of dedication and altruism, sparing no time or danger, it has contributed to saving lives in countless countries on all continents.
There have been many natural and health events in which Cuban doctors have rendered their services, since the creation of the brigade in 2005 by the leader of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro.
Among these are floods that affected Guatemala in 2005, the earthquake that struck Pakistan in that year which killed about 70 thousand people and in 2006, the earthquake that ravaged Indonesia.
Likewise, in 2010 the brigade lent its help to Chile, which was also hit by an earthquake and, in that same year, Cuban doctors traveled to Haiti to combat the cholera epidemic that affected that Caribbean nation.
In 2014, the medical brigade was the protagonist, perhaps, of one of its most important battles: the fight against Ebola in West Africa. This pandemic mainly affected Sierra Leone, Guinea Conakry and Liberia, where specialists from the island managed to save the lives of about 7,000 people.
But, without a doubt, it can be said that the most difficult and heroic work of Cuban professionals in white coats is the battle against Covid 19, which currently affects 185 countries in the world with more than 30 million sick people and more than 900 thousand deceased.
For just five months, the Henry Reeve Brigade has provided assistance in 39 countries and, at the moment, 43 brigades remain offering their services in 33 nations.
According to official statistics, in the decade and a half since it was founded, the brigade has collaborated selflessly in more than 40 countries and five non-autonomous territories.
On the other hand, a total of more than 9,000 aid workers, organized into 71 brigades, have provided medical care to some four million people and saved more than 89,000 lives in those 15 years.
These results earned the brigade the Dr Lee Jong-wook Memorial Prize for Public Health, awarded by the World Health Organization (WHO) and presented during its 70th General Assembly in Geneva in 2017.
All this work is more than enough for the Henry Reeve Brigade to receive, as many personalities, organizations and associations from many countries around the world have demanded, the Nobel Peace Prize. Nothing more just at the moment.