Monday, January 25, 2010

Unsung Heroes in Haiti

News stories about Cuban doctors in Haiti have finally found their way into the mainstream. Yesterday, a report from NPR called them the "unsung heroes" inside Haiti, while El Nuevo Herald on Saturday published a brief report by Juan Carlos Chavez on the Cuban doctors inside La Renaissance Clinic in Port-au-Prince. The Herald report also includes a wonderful collection of photos by award-winning photojournalist Roberto Koltun.

The NPR report by John Burnett describes the difficult work that Cuban doctors have been dealing with constantly in Haiti since the 7.0 magnitude earthquake of January 12th. Today, the Cuban Medical Brigade has expanded to four clinics in the cities around Port-au-Prince, and receive two flights daily from Cuba with food and medical supplies.

On Sunday, Mirta Roses, the director of the Pan American Health Organization visited Cuban doctors working inside La Paz University Hospital in Port-au-Prince. She praised the outstanding work of the Cuban Medical Brigade. Among those who also toured the hospital yesterday was Haiti's Health Minister Alex Larsen, who had more words of appreciation for the Cuban doctors and the Cuban government, which he described as Haiti's principle partner in providing health services.

"We cannot repay everything you have done for us now, but we say that we carry you in our hearts. We thank the government and people of the Republic of Cuba for everything they have done. We say: Viva Cuba. Viva Haiti. And, Viva Castro."

Alex Larsen was interviewed in a television report from Cuba which can be viewed below (in Spanish). Additional information and links about Cuban doctors in Haiti can be found on the Cuban Triangle blog, here and here. And the Cuban Colada blog here.

[BBC Special Reports from Haiti]

[Photo by El Nuevo Herald/Roberto Koltun, Cuban doctor, Frank Diaz, holds a four-year old patient with a recently amputated left leg.]

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