Cuban ebola team nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

A petition to spread the word and support the nomination is here.

 

The Annual Conference of Norwegian Trade Unions, meeting in Trondheim, Norway, voted unanimously in February to nominate Cuba’s Henry Reeve Brigade of internationalist health care workers for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Henry Reeve Brigade, named for a U.S. born medical doctor who participated in Cuba’s war of independence from Spain in the 19th century, and which was formed in 2005, consists of doctors, nurses and other health  care workers who volunteer to provide care in dangerous and unusual emergency situations around the world.

When the Ebola outbreak began in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in West Africa last year, 461 members of the brigade, trained by the Pedro Kouri Institute of Tropical Medicine in Havana, were quickly sent out to do the extremely dangerous direct face to face work with patients in a region where health care facilities and even basic infrastructure such as roads and communications systems are minimal.  Cuba’s role, far out of proportion to the countries small size and modest material resources, has been widely praised worldwide, including by the World Health Organization.

The Henry Reeve Brigade is only a small part of Cuba’s vast system of medical solidarity help to scores of poorer countries.

The Ebola epidemic has infected at least 22,000 people in the three countries, of whom 9,000 have died.  At least one of the  Cuban Reeve Brigade participants, Dr. Felix Baez, came down with the disease, but has survived.  One Cuban administrator died, but of malaria, not Ebola.  Currently the epidemic has been beaten down, but could flare up again, either in that area or somewhere else.

Surely there are few entities that are more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize nomination!

Photo: Cuban health worker wearing protective gear.  |  telesurv


CONTRIBUTOR

Emile Schepers
Emile Schepers

Emile Schepers is a veteran civil and immigrant rights activist. Emile Schepers was born in South Africa and has a doctorate in cultural anthropology from Northwestern University. He has worked as a researcher and activist in urban, working-class communities in Chicago since 1966. He is active in the struggle for immigrant rights, in solidarity with the Cuban Revolution and a number of other issues. He now writes from Northern Virginia.

 

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