Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), has sent the Cuban government and people a congratulatory message for Cuba's health cooperation with other peoples of the world.
In a video screened at a ceremony here in Havana to mark December 3rd –- the Day of Latin American Medicine -- Dr. Etienne praised what she described as the long and fruitful history of Cuban medical internationalism, which dates back to 1960 with the arrival in Chile of the first Cuban health brigade, in the wake of a devastating earthquake there.
The UN official stressed that over the past 55 years, Cuban health brigades have traveled to more than 150 countries the world over to assist people in poor, remote and under-served communities, as well as victims of disasters and emergency situations, like the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The director of PAHO also praised the results of the country's program to train health professionals from other countries, including the Havana-based Latin American School of Medicine, founded by Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro.
The Day of Latin American Medicine is observed every year on December 3rd, to pay tribute to eminent Cuban scientist Carlos Juan Finlay, who back in 1881 discovered the carrier of yellow fever.