Cuban Medical Diplomacy Completes 59 Years

A Cuban field hospital in Pakistan after the 2005 earthquake

Havana, 23 May 2022 (TDI): Cuba commemorates the 59th anniversary of Cuban internationalist medical collaboration today. Cuba began its characteristic international medical cooperation by sending the first permanent brigade to Algeria 59 years ago.

Cuban Medical Internationalism

After the Revolution of 1959, the Cuban government made health diplomacy a cornerstone of its foreign relations. Cuba sent its doctors and medical experts to serve in Africa, Latin America, and Asia to enhance medical cooperation.

Cuba employed medical assistance to develop deepen and strengthen ties with the third world. In addition, another aim was to support anti-colonial and independence struggles throughout the Global South.

Around 450,000 Cuban health personnel have provided their services in more than 160 countries around the globe in these 59 years.

Presently, tens of thousands of Cuban doctors are serving across poor regions of Africa, Latin America, and Asia. A United Nations estimate in 2019 revealed that there were around 30,000 Cuban doctors active in 67 countries.

Cuban Medical Aid in Response to Natural Disasters

Furthermore, Cuba has provided countries with essential and timely medical aid in response to natural disasters. In 1960, just after one year of the revolution, Cuba sent an emergency medical brigade to Chile after the Valdivia earthquake. Likewise, in 1972 and 1990, Nicaragua and Iran received Cuban assistance in response to earthquakes respectively.

Central America was hit by two hurricanes in 1998. Hurricane Mitch was the second-deadliest hurricane in the Atlantic. Cuba promptly sent medical aid to the region. Afterward, in 2004, Cuba sent doctors and aid to Sri Lanka and Indonesia after the 2004 Asian Tsunami that hit the region.

In 2005, Cuba provided assistance to Pakistan in the aftermath of the Kashmir earthquake. The assistance comprised more than 2,500 disaster response experts, doctors, and other health personnel who stayed through the winter for more than 6 months.

Furthermore, Cuba’s international medical assistance program was crucial in the fight against Covid19 across the world.

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