The COVID-19 has significantly challenged the health care system of the world as even the most advanced of the countries have not been able to completely shield its people from the adverse effect of the virus. Most of the nations have witnessed an upsurge in the infected persons that has significantly challenged the health infrastructure of the country posting dearth of medical supplies and medical professionals.

In the time of crisis, nations across the globe are adopting a humanitarian approach to fight back the pandemic. The ideals of the Non-Aligned Movement have focussed on the principles of humanity and have cherished the ethics of solidarity in the time of crisis. Cuba has been one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement and the only Latin American country in the group. It has been following the ideals of the NAM in all its essence and with it extending a hand of support to nations across the globe in this time of crisis has put forward an example for nations to follow.

Cuba has a very staunch and profession bunch of health care providers and the country has a history of providing medical aids to other nations when crisis hits the world. The Cuban doctors and other health care support providers have excellent training in the field and they have the experience of working in extreme as well as precarious situations ranging from virus outbreaks to natural calamities.

Cuba has been hard-hit by several economic sanctions from the superpower but that has not stopped the country in extending their health care services to the nations in the midst of the crisis. Cuban doctors and nurses have extended their professional services to other countries who have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cuban government, keeping itself aligned to the ideals of the Non-Aligned Movement has kept humanity above any politics. The Cuban medical diplomacy has permitted it to send its professional doctors to new missions to battle COVID-19 in at least 14 countries including Italy and the tiny principality of Andorra on the Spanish-French border. Despite the political tensions between Cuba and Italy, the country has sent 52 doctors and nurses to Italy that has been dealing with the worst of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 200 doctors from Cuba arrived in South Africa to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.South Africa requested the assistance from the Cuban government, which is sending more than 1,000 doctors to 22 countries, including Togo, Cap Verde and Angola in Africa.

In the course of just three weeks in March 2020, Cuba has sent 800 medical personnel to 16 different countries, mainly in Latin America and the Caribbean, responding to requests for assistance from their governments. Cuba is one of the only countries in the world to send doctors and nurses abroad to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.

It is not the first time the Cuban doctors have come to the forefront to aid the world at large. The Cuban government has already saved countless lives throughout the globe. The presence of Cuban doctors in Iran, Italy, Spain, Jamaica, Surinam, Venezuela, and multiple locations throughout Africa substantiates the fact. Cuba currently has about 37,000 medical workers in 67 countries, most in longstanding missions. At least 593 doctors from the Henry Reeve Brigade have also been to Suriname, Jamaica, Dominica, Belize, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, Venezuela and Nicaragua, some of them reinforcing existing medical missions.

Most of the doctors are sent to other countries as part of free aid missions, but many of the countries across the globe also pay for the services provided by Cuban doctors. Many international health bodies like the World Health Organisation have also come to the respite of the Cuban doctors in terms of payment. In 2014, Cuba sent 250 medical professionals to West Africa in response to a request from the World Health Organization for medical assistance to fight the Ebola outbreak. Cuban internationalist doctors and health care professionals have been offering humanitarian assistance and risking their own lives in the midst of the global pandemic. Their selflessness has showcased their determination to provide their services despite risk being at the forefront and this very humanitarian attitude has resulted in the global acceptance of the Cuban doctors.

By Dr. Ankit Srivastava