A group of Cuban doctors provide their services to more than 900 people from the Guatemalan southeastern department of Escuintla, one of the most affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano, only a week after its most powerful eruption since 1974.
According to Prensa Latina (PL) news agency, the presence of the Cuban physicians there did not start with the emergency; they are part of the 26 health workers of the Cuban Medical Brigade (BMC by its Spanish acronym) that for years have lived with the inhabitants of the area, so they are well acquainted with their customs and needs.
As soon as they heard the news of the high number of victims of the fatal Sunday June 3, immediately went to offer their services voluntarily and continuing to meet their daily work at the hospital in Escuintla and the surrounding areas.
Dr. Relmar Quintana, coordinator of the Escuintla group, says that overcrowding, poor ventilation and availability of sanitary services, generate the early appearance of respiratory and digestive infections, which first manifestations are already appearing.
We are investigating everyone – Quintana explains - in order to have them under control to act quickly in the face of any emergency.
Yessenia Peralta, a volunteer firefighter, told PL that she has had all the time the support of the BMC to control the growing outbreaks of diarrheal, skin and respiratory diseases.
Yuri Batista, BMC National Coordinator in Guatemala, is together with five other collaborators evaluating the epidemiological situation of the place, and they are permanently accompanied by the Cuban ambassador in Guatemala, Carlos de Cespedes Piedra.
From the first moment of the natural catastrophe, Cuba put at the disposal of Guatemalan authorities the experience accumulated by the BMC during almost 20 years of uninterrupted presence.
Batista emphasizes that in total there are 431 Cuban health workers, 245 doctors and 136 nurses, deployed by 16 of the 22 departments of the country, and that they cover dissimilar specialties.
That figure also includes 39 members of the Henry Reeve Brigade, specialized in disaster situations and created on September 19, 2005 by the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.