Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cuban Medical Personnel Treat Over 95,000 Haitians

In Haiti: More than 95,000 patients treated

Leticia Martínez Hernández

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti.— More than 95,000 patients have been treated here to date here by the Cuban medical brigade since the January 12 earthquake, and 4,500 operations have been performed. However, as brigade coordinator Carlos Alberto García says, in looking toward the country’s future, the most important part begins today with the transfer of equipment and medical personnel to two new hospitals in the provinces.

Dr. García explained that one hospital will be set up in the Port Salut commune and another in Corail, both at a considerable distance from the capital.

"The new centers will be in places which have bee lacking the conditions for health care because of a shortage of doctors, equipment, running water and electricity. These institutions will be open not only during the post-earthquake national emergency situation, but also will continue to provide services on an ongoing basis.

"With the two new hospitals and the seven Comprehensive Diagnostics Centers in various departments, we are taking the first steps toward improving the health system in Haiti," the coordinator stated.

A total of 1,439 Cuban doctors trained on the island are currently working in Haiti, 637 of them graduates from the Latin American School of Medicine. The Cuban medical brigade is providing services in 134 of the country’s 140 communes.

Translated by Granma International

Cuban-trained doctors vaccinate the Haitian population

A group of doctors trained in the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba (ELAM) have joined the vaccination campaign organized by Cuban medical personnel in devastated Haiti.

Cuban-trained doctors vaccinate the Haitian populationThe young doctors, from various Latin American countries, began their work in one of the largest improvised camps for victims of the earthquake, assisted by Cuban medical personnel who are providing services in Haiti.

There has been no vaccination campaign to date at the camp, located in the Saint Louis Gonzaga secondary school, despite requests to nongovernmental organizations and other institutions, according to the camp’s coordinator, Elvire Constant.

Latin American and Cuban doctors, assisted by nurses from the island, immunized the population with vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough, placing a priority on children and women.

Translated by Granma International

Cuba in the heart of every Haitian

Haitian government reiterates its gratitude to the Cuban people. Esteban Lazo concludes visit to Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti.— Shortly before leaving for Cuba after two working days in Haiti, Vice President Esteban Lazo Hernández was received by Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive who, on behalf of the Haitian government, reiterated his people’s gratitude to Cuba.

“I have to thank you for the help provided by Cuba since long before the earthquake. It is fantastic, free, unconditional, and it is in the heart of every Haitian man and woman,” Bellerive said. He went on to note two fundamental aspects: “first that that the Cuban cooperation is going to continue. It is important for Haiti to know that the programs will continue and moreover, outside of the capital, outside of the area where the earthquake occurred.”

“The second issue is that you didn’t come to talk about building a hospital or a healthcare center. You are talking about helping us to build a healthcare system and that is more important. A system that is going to allow us to improve Haitians’ health has never been within the framework of cooperation. Because many people come and say that they want to build a hospital but not an integral system that will help attain more health, greater levels of hygiene. With that cooperation we can raise the level of health of our people, which they deserve.”

The prime minister acknowledged the attitude assumed by the Haitians after the tragedy, when many of them rushed into the streets to help save thousands of people. “Up until now, I think that they have dealt with the situation very calmly and intelligently and have not let themselves get caught up in violence, a situation which can occur after a disaster like this.”

For his part Lazo informed him of the Cuban delegation’s activities in Haiti, which included visits to the Croix des Bouquets and Leoganne field hospitals, the Mirebalais Comprehensive Diagnostics Center, the La Paz and La Renaissance hospitals, and the Venezuelan Simón Bolívar Camp. Lazo told Bellerive that the Commander in Chief Fidel Castro had called him several times out of concern for the situation in Haiti.

“It has been an intense working visit. It was not possible to come immediately after the earthquake but our hearts have always been here.” Laze reiterated that the idea was to concentrate aid on recovery and the creation of a national healthcare system in Haiti. “At this point, it has to be at that level, above all in something as significant as the population’s health. We would like everyone who wants to do so, to help, without exception. But Haiti will be the principal player in the development of the program,” Lazo stated.

Translated by Granma International

Haitians describe landing of yanki Marines as occupation

PORT-AU-PRINCE, January 19.— Hundreds of Haitians watched with a mixture of resignation and anger on Tuesday as several helicopters landed U.S. troops in the grounds of the Presidential Palace, an act considered by many Haitians as a loss of sovereignty, the AFP reported.

"I haven’t seen them distributing food downtown, where the people urgently need water, food and medicine. This looks more like an occupation," said Wilson Guillaume, a 25-year-old student.

At least four helicopters brought 100 U.S. soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division to the grounds, as hundreds of Haitians looked on stunned. Having lost their homes in the earthquake, they are living as refugees in the Palace gardens.

As the U.S. troops left the Palace to guard Haiti’s general hospital, overflowing with injured people, many people yelled "Go home!" and "Don’t occupy us!"

A fleet of amphibious craft also reached the coast of Haiti, transporting some 800 Marines expected to go ashore in the next few days to join the 2,000-plus soldiers already stationed in Haiti.

Also today, the UN Security Council today unanimously approved increasing the number of international military and police forces in Haiti by 3,500 to reinforce security.

Meanwhile, thousands of earthquake victims are trying to get onto buses to flee the hunger and violence of the destroyed capital, with the hope of finding food more easily in the countryside, AP reports.

(Translated by Granma International)

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