Guatelmala medical brigade celebrates 10 years

Campaign News | Thursday, 6 November 2008

The Cuban Medical Brigade (CMB) in Guatemala celebrated its 10th anniversary on Wednesday. The first group arrived in that nation in 1998 to offer their services to the victims of Hurricane Mitch, the passage of which through Central America caused more than 10,000 deaths.

From the Guatemalan capital, the Prensa Latina news agency reports that the first Cuban physicians entered San José port on November 5th to help eradicate a cholera outbreak, and that a second group went to work in La Tinta Hospital, an isolated spot in the Department of Alta Verapaz.

Over the last decade, Cuban doctors in Guatemala have offered 24 million free consultations and have saved the lives of more than 250,000 people.

Moreover, they have also reduced the mother-child mortality rates in the places they have given health assistance.

The program’s coordinator, Abel Barrios, said that another of the achievements of Cuban health in Guatemala has been the results obtained by Operation Miracle, a project that has improved or contributed to the return sight to more than 35,200 patients with low resources.

He added that Cuba equipped three modern ophthalmology centers in Guatemala in the departments of Alta Verapaz, Jalapa and San Marcos, as well as two mobile surgeries to attend to problems like cataracts, granulated tissue, pterygium and drooping eyelids.

At present, there are some 400 doctors in Guatemala, in 17 of the country’s 22 departments.

As part of the General Health Program to help Mitch victims, Havana’s Latin American School of Medicine was created. Thousands of young people from the region and from other parts of the world have graduated, some of whom have been Guatemalans.

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