As Second Earthquake Strikes, Cuban Doctors Arrive in Nepal

This article originally appeared on TeleSUR | Thursday, 14 May 2015 | Click here for original article

Cuban internationalists arrive in Nepal

A Cuban brigade that specialises in dealing with major epidemics and disasters have set up a field hospital outside of Kathmandu. The team of Cuban doctors arrived in Nepal Tuesday, the same day that a second deadly earthquake rocked the country and stunted rescue efforts.

On Tuesday, an aftershock measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale resulted in the death of more than 65 people and left almost 2,000 injured.

This is in addition to the over 8,000 people who were killed by the catastrophic quake last week. The major tremors have overwhelmed Nepal's health institutions, professionals, and aid attempts in the country.

Thousands of citizens have been sleeping in the street with very little shelter or food since the first earthquake. Organizations such as the United Nations, the Red Cross, and the World Food Program have all reported being short of resources as hundreds of people have been pouring into their camps in search of humanitarian aid.

“The country faces a scarcity of hospitals as well as medical staff,” said Dr. Bishnu Dayal Patel, Research Officer with the National Ayurvedic Research and Training Center. “We appreciate that with the Cuban medical team, we will be able to provide rehabilitation, orthopedic and neuro-related services amidst this crisis,” he told teleSUR.

The Henry Reeve brigade from Cuba, consisting of 49 health professionals, arrived in Nepal Tuesday and began setting up a field hospital in the National Ayurvedic Research and Training Center in the Kirtipur municipality, just outside of the capital Kathmandu.

“We have provided the hospital's beds, space, and other facilities to the Cuban Medical team,” Dr. Shyam Babu Yadav, director of the National Ayurvedi Research and Training Center told teleSUR. With more than thirty percent of hospitals damaged, Nepal's health system is beyond its capacity as casualties continue to rise. The arrival of the Cuban medical team is expected to provide some relief.

Bringing their own medical equipment with them, the Cuban medical team consists of over a dozens specialists including surgeons, anesthesiologists, and obstetricians, as well as 10 nurses, and 8 general practitioners.

The field hospital is still waiting for the necessary paperwork from Nepal's ministry of health in order to begin operating, but the doctors say they are ready.

“As you can see, we have deployed the tents. We have already offloaded our medical equipment into the hospital. From tomorrow we will be ready to give some basic care, and from the day after we will be fully functional,” Zener Caro, a special envoy of the Cuban government, told teleSUR.

The Cuban Henry Reeve brigade specialises in dealing with major epidemics and disasters. After it officially starts its operations in Nepal, it is expected to help ease the delivery of health services in the country.

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