Cuba’s help sought to fight COVID-19 in Philippines

“We shall be very grateful for any medical assistance from the government and people of Cuba to the people of the Philippines in this critical times.”

By EMILY VITAL
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — Groups based in the Philippines are calling on Cuba to help the country combat the spread of coronavirus diseases 2019 (COVID-19).

In separate letters addressed to Ibete Fernández Hernández, ambassador of Cuba to the Philippines, dated March 24, the Philippines Cuba Friendship Association (AMISTAD) and the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) requested Cuban government to provide immediate medical assistance to the Philippines.

AMISTAD said the COVID-19 contagion is spreading exponentially in the Philippines.”The massive poverty and ineffective medical services in the Philippine has caused a massive humanitarian problem in the country affecting the poor and the marginalilzed,” the solidarity group said.

“We shall be very grateful for any medical assistance from the government and people of Cuba to the people of the Philippines in this critical times,” AMISTAD said.

Cuban doctors have been deployed to 59 countries around the world, 37 of which have confirmed cases of COVID-19, a Cuban official said in a report. These countries include Latin American and Caribbean countries such as Grenada, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Suriname, Venezuela and Italy, the second country next to China with highest COVID-19 cases.

In particular, AMISTAD said that Cuba’s antiviral Interferon Alfa 28 might be helpful in strengthening the immune system of COVID 19 positive patients. Interferon, along with 30 other drugs, has been selected  to treat COVID-19 by China’s National Health Commission.

Meanwhile, IPMSDL said indigenous peoples are among the vulnerable groups that take the biggest hit during global crises, including the present pandemic. “IP communities rarely have healthcare facilities that are well-equipped to handle serious diseases nor do they receive sufficient state support to maintain the general well-being of the community members,” the group said.

The group added that IP communities in the Philippines and West Papua “are heavily militarized causing them to flee their homes and seek refuge somewhere else that may not always be conducive for safe and healthful living.”

“Despite the unfortunate circumstances we are facing today, we remain hopeful because of the selflessness exhibited by the government and people of Cuba who extend their services and assistance to countries that are in need,” the IPMSDL letter read.

As of this writing, the Philippines has recorded 707 COVID-19 cases and 45 deaths. (https://www.bulatlat.com)

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