- Health Minister Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas confessed, "I don't know how these patients were able to get to hospitals alive."
- A group of 216 health professionals from Cuba left on Saturday for South Africa to help fight COVID-19.
- Five years ago, a team of Cuban health experts from the Henry Reeve emergencies team helped to control the Ebola epidemic in Africa.
At least 109 people have died in the Dominican Republic as a result of drinking clerén, a drink made from sugar cane and fermented fruits. Experts have explained that the drink has got a high methanol content, which can lead to subsequent contamination. The victims ingested the drink believing that it is an effective remedy against the coronavirus.
As reported by Health Minister Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas on Friday, there were “130 cases and 109 deaths.” The minister added that “medical tests have concluded that 109 people died as a result of drinking a concoction that included more than 50% methanol.” He confessed, “I don’t know how these patients were able to get to hospitals alive.”
In recent days, the security forces have carried out several operations on premises that produce and sale this type of drink, arresting several people. The Health Minister has warned that the raids will continue. Consumption of the concoction has increased due to the false belief that it serves to combat the coronavirus. The Dominican Republic has 6,135 cases of COVID-19 and 278 deaths.
Cuba sends 216 Health Professionals to South Africa
A group of 216 health professionals from Cuba left on Saturday for South Africa to help fight COVID-19. The group comprises 85 doctors, 20 nurses, and 111 professionals from various other health fields. South Africa is the fourth African country to get the help of Cuban professionals to help in the fight against the pandemic.
The medical brigade includes specialists in general medicine, biostatistics, biotechnology, technicians and epidemiologists, and is part of the brigade of the Henry Reeve International Contingent of Doctors Specialized in Disaster Situations and Epidemics. For the past 15 years, the brigade have assisted in natural disasters and health crises in about 20 countries.
The Cuban professionals are set to travel to several provinces of South Africa to help eliminate the covid-19 pandemic in the country. Other African countries that have benefited from the services of the Cuban doctors before include Cape Verde, Angola and Togo.
In total, almost 1,500 Cuban specialists have left the island since the beginning of the pandemic. The brigade has travelled to 21 nations in Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, including Italy, Qatar, Mexico, Honduras, Venezuela, Haiti, and Jamaica.
South Africa and Cuba have a special relationship, with Cuba having supported the fight against Apartheid. The conflict included Cuban troops who fought and died in southern Angola. Following his freedom from prison in 1990, Nelson Mandela, founding father of multiracial South Africa, repeatedly thanked then-Cuban President Fidel Castro.
Whereas South Africa donated medical supplies aimed at assisting in the fight against coronavirus, Cuba, in return, gave the country a team of it’s fine medical experts to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. “These are times of solidarity and cooperation. If we act together, we can halt the spread of coronavirus in a faster and more cost effective manner,” Cuba’s ambassador to South Africa, Rodolfo Benítez Verson, said in a statement.
Five years ago, a team of Cuban health experts from the Henry Reeve emergencies team helped to control the Ebola epidemic in Africa. Its work was recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) with a prize in 2017. Globally, according to a report by the news agency AFP, the COVID-19 pandemic has so far caused more than 206,000 deaths and infected more than 2.9 million people in 193 countries and territories.