Outstanding revolutionary psychiatrist dies

Campaign News | Monday, 22 May 2006

Prize winning Dr Bernabe Ordaz was devout Catholic who fought in the revolution and later went on to revolutionise psychiatric care

Havana, 22 May: Dr. Eduardo Bernabe Ordaz, a doctor who fought in the Cuban revolution before being head of Havana's Psychiatric Hospital for more than four decades, has died at the age of 84, Granma, the Communist Party newspaper reported today.

Ordaz, a devout Catholic and a native of Bauta in Havana province, died on Sunday of kidney failure in Havana, the newspaper said.

Ordaz became politically active as he was studying medicine at the University of Havana, where he obtained a medical degree in 1951. He joined the guerrilla struggle in the mountains of eastern Cuba in 1958.

In addition to fighting, he also tended to wounded rebels in the mountains and at clandestine clinics, according to the newspaper.

With the victory of the revolution in 1959, he was named a commander of the Rebel Army, then went into the reserves to focus on health issues.

After managing a hospital base in western Cuba, Ordaz was designated director of the Psychiatric Hospital in Havana. For four decades, he revolutionized treatment of mentally ill patients, bringing them out of isolation and abuse to participate in society.

Dr Ordaz won many international prizes for his innovative use of activities such as dance and creative work in the treatment of mental illness.

Dr Ordaz also served as a delegate to the Cuban Parliament from 1976 to 2003.

He was buried on Monday at Havana's historic Colon Cemetery, in a sanctuary for members of the Armed Forces. Hundreds attended, including other revolutionary commanders such as Ramiro Valdes and Guillermo Garcia.


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