The government of Cuba officially recognized Monday the work of Cuban medical professionals who traveled to Western Africa to provide medical care to those afflicted with the deadly Ebola virus.
“In this event we feel a mix of emotions, satisfaction, humanism, patriotism, and pride generated thanks to what you have done in this sister lands,” said Cuban Vice-President Mercedes Lopez.
Lopez highlighted the altruistic nature of “saving lives, even at expense of their own lives.” Two members of the Cuban delegation to West Africa, Reinaldo Villafranca, a nurse serving in Sierra Leone, and Jorge Juan Guerra Rodriguez, a member of the advance team in Guinea, died after contracting malaria.
The secretary-general of the United Nations Ban-ki Moon made an urgent appeal for assistance to help treat and contain an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus. Cuba responded by sending hundreds of Cuban medical professionals to Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia to provide front-line care and training.
The Ebola outbreak has resulted in 8,000 deaths and more than 20,000 infections. The efforts by Cuban medical professionals significantly helped stem the outbreak, a feat recognized throughout the world.
All of the doctors and nurses who were serving in West Africa have now returned to Cuba.
The country regularly sends doctors from its socialized medical system to countries in need throughout the world.
Read teleSUR’s analysis of the Ebola outbreak in its series the Other Side of Ebola.