Canadians supporting Cuban Medical Services for Haiti (tax receipts available)
Attn: S. Skup, Secretary/Treasurer 56 Riverwood Terrace Bolton, ON L7E 1S4
January 9, 2011
In response to the horrendous suffering of the Haitian people resulting from the earthquake, its aftershocks and consequences, many Canadians have been wondering what is the most effective way to provide aid. The Canadian Network on Cuba, made up of Cuba-support organizations across Canada, has organized the “Cuba for Haiti” fundraising campaign. Cuba has an unequalled record in helping people in crises, such as the earthquake in Pakistan and natural disasters in many other countries. In fact it has set up a special emergency unit, the Henry Reeve Medical Brigade, to respond to such disasters, wherever they occur. And its medical help to more than 27,000 child victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster continued even during its most difficult economic period.
At the time of the earthquake in Haiti, 402 Cuban internationalists, 302 of them medical personnel, had already been helping Haitians. These together with many of the 620 Haitian doctors who had been trained in Cuba free of charge formed the essential early group of lifesavers, attending to 1,109 Haitian patients in the first 24 hours after the earthquake. They continued their work, boosted by an additional medical brigade which arrived promptly from Cuba. When some other medical teams left Haiti, Cubans saw the need for more areas of cooperation and are expanding their services. A strong group of epidemiologists was added, along with supplies of fumigants and vaccines to keep in check any possible spread of diseases. Then a group of psychiatrists and psychologists arrived to serve especially Haiti’s children and immediately started group therapy work, supported by Cuban artists and entertainers who volunteered to join in the effort.
Cuba with its persistent humanitarian imagination finds ways of overcoming obstacles. For example, when foreign troops were billeted in a school of medicine run by Cuba in Haiti at the time of the coup against Jean-Bertrand Aristide, putting an end to the functioning of the school, Cuba moved the whole student body of 300 Haitians to Santiago de Cuba to complete their medical studies there free of charge. More recently, Cuban Vice President Esteban Lazo, ending a visit to Haiti on February 9, 2010, promised the suffering Haitians not just doctors and health centres but a new health care system.
With the outbreak of cholera in Haiti, carried there by Nepalese troops serving with the U.N. force, Cuba`s response is demonstrating a combination of medical scientific skills, as well as devotion to the afflicted, that is perhaps unprecedented in the history of international aid and solidarity. The Cuban brigade is the leading force in quelling the lethal peril. They have added a further 300 to their brigade made up mainly of doctors and nurses, and including cooks and other service personnel. The brigade now has more than 1200 doctors. That has allowed them to expand, by a further twelve, accommodating 1100 more patients, the number of isolation centres in which the victims receive intensive treatment. Besides, the Cubans have been going out to the most remote parts of Haiti, far beyond the reach of infrastructure, sometimes walking for 6 to 7 hours, carrying medicines, food, water, camping equipment. There they diagnose, treat and feed. They also teach prevention. The result is that, of the more than 46,000 seriously ill patients whom the Cubans have seen, the death rates have been minimal, with hardly any deaths occurring in recent weeks in their centres. Whereas of the more than 105,000 victims who have received treatment from all sources the morality rate is almost 3%, that rate among those treated by the Cubans is 0.57%. Haitian President René Préval has been repeatedly singling out the Cuban solidarity in the fight against cholera, calling it “the most significant and effective effort against the disease.” But, of course, this is only a part of the continuing multifaceted help that Cuba has been giving to Haiti since 1998.
We believe that this kind of unprecedented and invaluable help deserves to be supported as strongly as possible. The CNC urges you to support Cuba in this work by giving a donation to “The Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund,” writing Cuba for Haiti on your cheque’s memo line. Charitable receipts will be issued by the Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund (Charitable Org - Revenue Canada Reg, #88876 9197RR0001).
Your donation should be mailed to:
The Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund
Attn: S. Skup
56 Riverwood Terrace,
Bolton, ON L7E 1S4
For further enquiries:
Tel. 905 951-8499; Fax 905 951-7629
All “Cuba for Haiti” contributions go into a special account in Cuba, ensuring that 100% of all donations are used for medical support and aid to Haiti. We have no administrative expenses. All work on this campaign is voluntary. We are working directly with The Cuban Embassy in Ottawa and the Consulate General in Toronto. The Cuba for Haiti campaign has now received and sent on to Cuba more than $214,000.
Keith Ellis, Coordinator, CNC Cuba for Haiti Campaign (905 822-1972)
Isaac Saney, CNC Co-chair & National Spokesperson
Elizabeth Hill, CNC Co chair