Monday, August 28, 2006

Cuban Doctors Helping Guatemalans

IZABAL, Guatemala, August 25.— A Cuban medical brigade is currently bringing health and hope to thousands of people in Guatemala’s Caribbean zone.
Eight years ago, when Hurricane Mitch devastated large portions of Central America and the Motagua River flooded extensive parts of this region, the first Cuban physicians arrived in the department of Izabal, and they are still working here today.
"We are 15 collaborators, mostly women, including gynecologists, pediatricians, anesthetists, epidemiologists, nurses and experts in Integral General Medicine," said Odalys Rodriguez, coordinator of the Jose Marti Brigade in this department.
The Cuban doctors are working in five Izabal municipalities: Puerto Barrios, Livingston, El Estor Morales and Los Amates.
The most frequent diseases reported are acute respiratory problems, intestinal parasitism, skin afflictions and malnutrition, mainly in children.
Five doctors are also stationed at the Mother-Child Center of El Estor, where they offer 24-hour service on a rotating basis. The facility operates in the zone known for having the highest maternal mortality rate in all of Guatemala.
Odalys Rodriguez says that since the center opened, the maternal mortality rate has dropped drastically by two-thirds, from the 179 per 100,000 women rate a year earlier.
She noted how the Guatemalans have a good impression of the Cuban physicians and most importantly trust them. The fact that many patients speak native languages instead of Spanish has not been an obstacle for understanding, added Odalys (PL).


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