Cuba, beacon of international solidarity and medical service
Cuba, a small country in Latin America which is being harassed by US imperialism, is leading in medical solidarity and providing services to peoples of the world to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. It promptly deployed medical brigades to help countries hardest hit by the disease. On March 18, allowed the docking of British ship MS Braemar which carried Covid-19 patients and was denied entry in other countries.
Cuba offered to export to any country a drug to help Covid-19 patients. The said drug, called the Interferon Alpha 2-B, was developed by Cuban scientists since the 1980s to treat dengue, HIV, hepatitis and other viral diseases. The drug helps the body’s ability to produce interferon, a group of proteins that the body uses to strengthen its resistance to viral diseases. Viral diseases are not cured by drugs but are rather overcome only through the body’s resistance..
The drug was jointly developed by Chinese and Cuban scientists. It has been manufactured and used in China since January. According to scientists, the drug is most effective when taken during the early stage of infection or as a preventive drug. The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently studying interferon-beta, along with three other drugs, to determine their effectiveness against Covid-19. Eight hospitals in the Philippines will participate in the WHO experiment.
According to Cuba, they have Interferon Alpha-2 supplies enough for thousands of patients. It is willing to manufacture more if needed. Meanwhile, half a million Cuban health workers expressed their readiness to provide assistance to countries in need of medical help. According to the Cuban Health Workers Union, more than 45 countries have requested help from Cuba as of March 30. In the Philippines, Bayan Muna Rep. Euphemia Cullamat filed a petition on April 5 to request help from Cuba.
Currently, more than 28,000 Cuban health workers are providing medical service in over 60 countries. Its deployment of medical brigades was a program initiated by former Cuban Pres. Fidel Castro in 1963. It has been able to provide medical service to more than 160 countries.