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Fidel: Cuba Will Work With US to Fight Ebola
International

Fidel: Cuba Will Work With US to Fight Ebola

Fidel Castro has expressed Cuba’s readiness to cooperate with the US in the global fight against Ebola. Cuba has been on the frontline of international response to the worst outbreak in the disease’s history, the RT reported.
In his article “Time of Duty,” which was published on Saturday, the retired Cuban leader said that medical staff trying to save lives are the best example of human solidarity. Fighting together against the epidemic can protect the people of Cuba, Latin America, and the US from the deadly virus, he added.
“We will gladly cooperate with American [medical] personnel in this task – not for the sake of peace between the two states which have been adversaries for many years, but for the sake of peace in the world,” wrote Castro.
As the Ebola death toll currently stands at about 4,500, the United Nations is urging the global community to help tackle the outbreak. Even to simply slow down the virus’ spreading pace, international aid would have to increase 20-fold, said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Cuba was one of the first countries to send medical staff to the West African nations fighting the epidemic. A group of 165 health workers arrived in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, and several more groups are expected there. The Cuban team consists of 100 nurses, 50 doctors, three epidemiologists, three intensive care specialists, three infection control specialist nurses, and five social mobilization officers.
This is the largest foreign medical team from a single country to take up the call since the beginning of the outbreak.
“Cuba is the only one that I know is responding with human resources in terms of health doctors and nurses,” said Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairwoman for the African Union.
Cuba boasts one of the best medical systems in the world, and often lends a helping hand in the aftermath of natural disasters and epidemics.
Cuba provided care to about 40 percent of the victims of the Haiti earthquake in 2010, and almost 50,000 Cuba-trained health employees work in many countries across the globe.
On Monday, Havana will host a summit of leaders of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), aimed at ramping up Ebola response support.
In the past, Cuba had close ties with many African states. It previously sent troops to Angola and helped Nelson Mandela in his fight against Apartheid. It has also sent doctors to conflict-affected countries around the world.
US State Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday spoke about Cuba as one of the “nations large and small stepping up in impressive ways to make a contribution on the front lines.”

 China, US Cooperation
Setting aside their differences, the US and China have agreed to cooperate in stepping up efforts to control the Ebola epidemic in Africa.
Visiting Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi and US Secretary of State John Kerry, who met in Boston, agreed to enhance cooperation on fighting the Ebola epidemic, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.
Yang noted that Ebola, which continues to spread in West Africa, has become a threat to the public health and requires concerted efforts by the international community.
The United States and China have their respective advantages in fighting the deadly virus, Yang said.
China is willing to strengthen coordination and cooperation with the US as well as the international community to help the affected African countries, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Besides contributing USD 53 million worth of aide to western African countries to fight Ebola, China has also sent teams of doctors to the affected countries to combat the disease.

 Hysteria in US
President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Americans to avoid hysteria over Ebola, and played down the idea of travel bans from Ebola-ravaged countries in West Africa, explaining that restrictions could make things worse.
Lawmakers this week urged Obama to bar people from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea from entering the United States. Obama has said he is not philosophically opposed to travel bans, but in his weekly address made it clear that he is not leaning toward them.
“We can’t just cut ourselves off from West Africa,” Obama said, explaining it would make it harder to move health workers and supplies into the region, and would motivate people trying to get out the region to evade screening, making it harder to track cases. “Trying to seal off an entire region of the world — if that were even possible — could actually make the situation worse,” he said.
Obama said it would take time to fight the disease, warning “before this is over, we may see more isolated cases here in America.” But he sought to put the disease in perspective, reminding Americans that only three cases have been diagnosed in the country, and that it is not easily contracted.
“What we’re seeing now is not an ‘outbreak’ or an ‘epidemic’ of Ebola in America,” he said. “This is a serious disease, but we can’t give in to hysteria or fear.”

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