Invariably, the humanistic and supportive vocation of Cuban medicine has been weighed up against the altruistic attitude of the doctors, nurses and health technicians who have gone on mission in various countries of the world, especially in inhospitable places, serving communities where no physician has ever been.
Cuba has gained international prestige in this field, not only because of the competence of its professionals and the quality of its services, but also because of the integrity of this human resource, which has a special capacity to provide love in each consultation and to empathize with the suffering of their fellow human beings.
Such recognition of fellow countrymen in the public health sector raises our ego, because they are symbols of national identity and it would be a sacrilege not to experience pride in being contemporaries of men and women who walk in distant corners of the earth saving lives without distinction of age, skin color, language spoken or money carried in the patient’s pocket.
In addition to such a selfless attitude and devotion to doing good, to feeling deeply the pain of others and doing the impossible to alleviate it, there is the merit of practicing the profession far from home, with the love of one’s loved ones; without comforts, sometimes with the indispensable conditions, and even in situations of risk when they have faced epidemics, responded to earthquakes and tsunamis, or crossed dangerous jungles and lakes.
The most recognized feats are in the fight against Ebola in parts of Africa and more recently the crusade for life in a pitched battle against COVID-19, which has infected about ten million human beings and cut off the existence of several hundred thousand on the planet, figures that are painfully increasing by the minute.
In order to help defeat that terrible pandemic that has put humanity on edge, and at the request of many countries, Cuba has sent more than 30 brigades of the Henry Reeve international contingent specialized in disaster situations and serious epidemics, to which many organizations in the world have proposed that it be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Every word written to reward that feat would be little. Each image published would not be enough to show in all its grandeur the generous gesture that is only born and bears fruit in noble souls, with high feelings of solidarity, as characterizes the army of white coats that honors the country with their work.
This time of pandemic for the new coronavirus has also served to exalt the consecration of those who carry out mission in their own land, and work with similar heroism and altruism from their position in the rear.
Stories abound that deserve chapters and would allow for a fair evaluation of those tireless doctors of different specialties, nurses and technicians who in hospitals, polyclinics, doctor’s offices and duty corps make medicine a meaning of life and not a means of living.
An example could illustrate such dedication in the main trench to attend and save the cases infected with COVID-19 in Santiago de Cuba: the Joaquín Castillos Duany military hospital, where the work assumed from the simplest worker to the highest rank deserves the honor of the Martian custom in the face of the waste of courage and dedication.
The same care units in Santiago served as support in the isolation and epidemiological surveillance centres, as well as in the family doctor’s offices, as everlasting sentinels to prevent the spread of the lethal disease from each home, from the community.
The values promoted by the Cuban Revolution over the past 61 years have borne fruit, as confirmed by the doctor who stayed on the intensive care red line for longer than the regulations stipulated; the laboratory technicians who analyzed samples day and night after leaving the little girl in her mother’s care; and the doctor in the office who, together with the students, did not give up on the investigations, giving special attention to the most vulnerable people, such as the elderly or the disabled in their health area.
And we will have to admit some moles that hurt in Public Health, an abuse here, an incomplete exam there, a late attention, a bad service…, but they will never be able to tarnish such a gigantic work made by men and women with defects and virtues, but in love and devoted to their work.
In summary, in every hospital, polyclinic, doctor’s office or guard force there are many examples that show that human solidarity is not only exercised by Cubans when they take on missions abroad; there are many examples to ratify that it is also manifested from home, in the responsible position in the rear.