Cuba sends 500 specialist doctors, nurses to help Mexico in virus fight

World | 9 Jan 2021 11:36 am

Hundreds of Cuban doctors will soon arrive in Mexico's capital, a senior Mexican health official said on Friday, part of a larger plan endorsed by leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to help local hospitals swamped by a coronavirus surge, Reuters reports.

Communist-led Cuba has exported doctors as a central part of its diplomatic efforts since its 1959 revolution. Its doctors were in the front lines in the fight against cholera in Haiti and ebola in West Africa in the 2010s.

Cuba's critics in the United States say the doctors work under exploitative conditions and are used to support the Communist government's allies.

Luis Antonio Ramirez, the head of Mexico's ISSSTE public network of hospitals, told local broadcaster Imagen Television late on Thursday that the influx of Cuban doctors will initially alleviate shortages at a hospital in southeastern Mexico City.

"We're expecting some 200 Cuban doctors to arrive," Ramirez said shortly after he met with Lopez Obrador at the national palace.

Ramirez said the specialists will help bolster care at ISSSTE's Tlahuac hospital, which earlier this week had posted signs outside its gates informing the public it was full.

Earlier on Thursday, Lopez Obrador said he expects around 500 Cuban doctors and nurses to arrive, noting that part of the group would be deployed to Mexican military hospitals.

"We thank the Cuban government because they're helping us," he told reporters at a regular government news conference.

Another contingent of Cuban medics helped Mexico earlier in the pandemic but returned home last year.

He did not offer further details.

 



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