Cuba shows US up in its response to #Ebola outbreak...leading to a thaw in relations

Friday, October 24, 2014

Cuba, whose health system has been hailed by leftists and public health advocates as a model to follow despite the country's economic setbacks, has put most of the developed world to shame in its response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Unlike most other industrialized nations, which have responded mainly with funding and supplies, Cuba has stepped up and sent 165 medical professionals to Sierra Leone, with 91 about to begin working in Guinea and Libera. There are plans to send about 200 more. From Yahoo!:
The island's response to the epidemic, which has killed more than 4,500 people in west Africa, has won plaudits from humanitarian workers who say the international community's reaction has otherwise been lacking.

"The international response has been slow.... The virus is spreading faster than we're all setting up," said Sean Casey, director of the International Medical Corps' emergency response team in Liberia, where Cuban advance teams have been laying the groundwork for the new medical team's arrival.

"It's good that the Cubans are coming. We need more countries to step up," he told AFP.

Cuba's contribution has also won plaudits on the international stage -- even in the United States, where Cold War bitterness toward the island still lingers, more than 50 years after the Cuban Missile Crisis and the severing of diplomatic ties.

US Secretary of State John Kerry paid Cuba a rare compliment last week, singling out the country for its "impressive" response to Ebola.
These rare displays of warmth have been reciprocated on the Cuban side.

Fidel Castro, the retired father of the island's communist revolution, said Cuba "will gladly cooperate with American personnel" on Ebola, in an article published in state media Saturday.

His brother Raul, who succeeded him as president in 2006, echoed the sentiment at a regional Ebola summit Monday in Havana, the first of its kind in Latin America.
Diplomacy wins through public health! Warm fuzzies all around.

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