The Cuban health squad will return from Italy to Cuba on Monday. All 52 doctors and nurses who helped fight the novel virus outbreak in the most-infected region Lombardy are ready to go home, the Cuban Embassy in Italy says.
As Prensa Latina reported earlier, the Cuban medical brigade, made up of 36 doctors, 15 nurses and a logistics specialist arrived on March 22 in the city of Crema. The foreign health professionals worked together with their Italian colleagues at the main hospital, at a campaign hospital built in a nearby area and at a centre for caring coronavirus elderly patients.
According to the statement from the diplomatic mission, the Cuban health brigade will depart from Milan, where it will be seen off by representatives of the regional government, the Cuban Embassy staff, the solidarity movement and Cubans residents in Italy.
“In Lombardy … everyone is grateful for their professionalism and their humbleness and availability to a country they hardly know,” said Marco Grimaldi, a politician from north-west Italy who helped to negotiate the arrival of a group of 39 Cuban healthcare workers with diplomats from Havana. “Imagine if Europe could manage to do the same.”
Over 5,000 medical services, 3,668 nursing services and 210 direct hospital discharges endorse the contribution of the members of ‘Henry Reeve’ Contingent, who will return to Cuba with the satisfaction with the work done.
Since their arrival in Lombardy, which has a population of some 34,000 people, the presence of Cuban medical brigade has been welcomed with manifold expressions of gratitude and affection by local authorities, the Italian health personnel, patients, family members and people in general.
In fact, the scheme has since become an essential economic lifeline: while some missions are provided free of charge, other countries pay Cuba for the medical services, bringing in $6.3bn annually and making it Havana’s largest source of foreign currency.