Cuban doctors treated over 1m patients

February 27, 2006

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ISLAMABAD, Feb 26: The Cuban doctors have so far attended 1.04 million patients in the earthquake-devastated areas. The doctors from the International Henry Reeve Contingent are ushering in a new era of diplomatic relations between the two countries, which were almost non-existent during the cold war when Pakistan had joined the US-led coalition against the Soviet Union and backing the US war in Afghanistan.

The Cuban team of diplomats has already shown its interest to open embassy in Pakistan and offer scholarships to at least one thousand of Pakistani doctors to be trained in Cuba and serve the deserving community of the Third World. Of the total patients the Cuban doctors attended in the earthquake-hit areas, 439,894 were seen during home visits in mountainous communities of northern areas.

These latest figures were revealed at the command post of the Cuban medical contingent based in Abbottabad and were the result of a survey concluded on February 23. Of the total number attended, female patients accounted for 503,881 or 48.3 per cent.

In the surgical tents located at the Cuban medical camps set up in the NWFP and Azad Kashmir, the Cuban surgeons have performed 10,920 operations, 39.9 per cent of which were major surgeries.

Cuban tent hospitals set up in 32 different areas throughout the disaster zone have taken in some 6,000 new patients over the last few days.

In the tent hospital located in Data, in the Mansehra district, Omer Zeb and Nasir Gujjar, 14 and 13 years, respectively, can be seen moving daily between the hospital ward and the tent set up for rehabilitation therapy and physiotherapy.

They are from Balakot and, as a result of the earthquake, lost a limb each. Omer suffered the unimaginable tragedy of realising that his little sister, squeezed against his chest under the collapsed roof of their house, had died. Nasir lost his entire family to the earthquake.

Both are receiving daily specialised treatment to help cure the wounds left as a result of the amputation, including rehabilitation exercises aimed at strengthening the base of the affected limb and increasing mobility in order to receive a prosthesis that will allow them to reinsert themselves into society.