Cuban medical Brigade arrives in Panama to help with coronavirus

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Cuba’s internationally renowned Henry Reeve Brigade has dispatched 231 medical personnel to provide Covid-19 management assistance in Panama. Comrade Peter Lansiquot has provided this translation from the Spanish language of the original Prensa Latina report.  

CUBA/PANAMA (Prensa Latina) – The 10th brigades of Cuban health professionals arrived in Panama to collaborate with the presently ongoing efforts at caring for those infected by COVID-19, at the most critical moment of the pandemic in this nation.

Lydia Margarita González, ambassador of Cuba in this Central American nation, and Nadja Porcell, director-general of health of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) attended the arrival ceremony at the Tocumen air terminal, to welcome the 231 members of the Antillean medical contingent Henry Reeve, specialized in assisting victims of natural disasters and serious epidemics.

The Isthmus health authorities announced this week that given the critical situation and the lack of specialists, they resorted to external help from professionals from Cuba and the United States, countries that will provide the largest number of expert personnel, in addition to Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela, according to the source.

The minister of health, Luis Francisco Sucre, reported that this week the first foreign specialists would arrive, who will work temporarily in critical places in the capital, the neighboring provinces of Western Panamá and Western Chiriquí, while also confirming the help of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in the certification of the curricula of foreign specialists.

The Official Gazette of Panama, for its part, published on Wednesday the resolution of the executive that authorized Minsa to sign the Cooperation Agreement for Emergency Response with its Cuban counterpart for “three months with a probability of an extension.”

The document stated that there will be 10 teams made up of “doctors, nurses and assistants trained to face disasters and serious epidemics, to provide services in different territories and community and hospital health care centers in Panama.”

Dr Carlos Pérez heads the group, after having worked with similar success in the northern Italian region of Lombardy, where 52 Cuban health professionals stayed from March to May 2020, when that area was experiencing a moment of unprecedented uncertainty and danger,’ according to Stefania Bonaldi, mayor of the municipality of Crema.

At the José Martí International Airport in Havana, the departure ceremony for the Henry Reeve Brigade included the participation of the Cuban minister of health, José Ángel Portal; deputy minister Regla Angulo, and the ambassador of Panama in Cuba, Reinaldo Rivera.

Until (December 23) Panama had recorded 3,664 deaths and 220,261 infected persons, since the first case was reported on March 9, 2020, but in November an aggressive increase in infections began that exceeded hospital capacity, forcing the authorities to improvise rooms in convention centers, gyms and tents.

– Peter Lansiquot, first vice-president of the Saint Lucia – Cuba Humanistic Solidarity Association (HSA) and president of the Saint Lucia – Venezuela Solidarity & Integrationist Movement (SLVSIM).

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