"Half of the NGOs are already gone, and the Cubans are still there.".
In an article published November 8, The New York Times recognizes that, "as the epidemic continues, the Cuban medical mission that played an important role in detecting its presence in Haiti, winning accolades from donors and diplomats for staying on the front lines and undertaking a broader effort to remake this country's shattered health care system."
"Paul Farmer, the United Nations deputy special envoy to Haiti and a founder of Partners in Health, said the Cubans sounded an important early alarm about the outbreak, helping to mobilize health officials and lessen the death toll," the newspaper writes.
|Cuban medical personnel were in Haiti when the earthquake happened and are still there, while half of the NGO’s have already left. (Photo: Juan Diego Nusa Peñalver)|
Even more, while the death rate peaked last December and the world's attention has largely moved on, Farmer noted, "Half of the NGOs are already gone, and the Cubans are still there."
To date this year in Haiti, 6,600 people have died of cholera and more than 476,000 contracted the disease – close to 5% of the country’s 10 million inhabitants – considered by UN officials as the highest cholera rate in the world.
Cuban medical personnel have been working in Haiti since 1998, when 100 doctors arrived there in the wake of Hurricane Mitch. They are part of the internationalist medical missions that Cuba has maintained for 50 years.