Day of the Titans and Heroic Guerrillas in White Coats

María Inés Álvarez Garay is a professor and collaborator of the Cuban Medical Brigade in Gambia.

Latin American Medicine Day is celebrated in Cuba and other countries of the Patria Grande in commemoration of the birth of the wise Cuban epidemiologist Carlos Juan Finlay.

Finlay was born on December 3, 1833 in Puerto Príncipe, Camagüey. His main contribution to world science was his explanation of the mode of transmission of yellow fever: the female of the mosquito species known today as Aedes Aegypti.

He earned universal gratitude, not only for this work, but also because he discovered and solved the terrible problem of childhood tetanus.

His example is an encouragement for those who, like he did, dedicate their lives to science, research, fighting disease, and making health care an everyday right of humanity.

Also in his honour, the government of Cuba created the "Carlos J. Finlay" Microbiology Prize that UNESCO awards every two years to researchers whose work on issues related to microbiology (immunology, molecular biology, genetics and others) has contributed in a prominent way to health. Its objective is to promote research and advances in microbiology.

At the event held for the 20th anniversary of the Speleological Society of Cuba, at the Academy of Sciences in Havana, on January 15, 1960, our dear Fidel expressed:

"The future of our country must necessarily be a future of persons of science, it must be a future of persons of thought, because it is precisely what we are cultivating the most; what we are cultivating the most are opportunities for intelligence."

Today Cuba has solid development in biotechnology research. It has fostered a strong scientific branch dedicated to the research and production of medical-pharmaceutical products obtained through genetic engineering and biotechnology, a solid industry of medicines and equipment for general medical use, in addition to currently having four vaccine projects against COVID-19 in different phases of clinical trials.

It is undeniable that there is no blockade or material limitations that can prevent the development of intelligence, when you have the will and the possibility of exercising thought. When, in addition, there is a social system that favors the full development of the human person; with a Revolution that has clearly expressed the political will to develop science, fostering the environment for it, creating the conditions and seeking the necessary resources; and with a Commander-in-Chief like ours, who was able to be ahead of his time and recognize the value of science for the development of humanity and the Homeland.

In the fight against COVID-19, the current president of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, acknowledged that the results that have been achieved in different areas "constitute a reliable example of the contribution that Cuban science is making to this battle."

And then there are our titans and heroic guerrillas in white coats, who, scattered throughout the world, tirelessly fight against diseases, who, fully engaging their humanistic consciousness and solidarity, delve into science looking for a better future for all, defending the everyday right to health.

Cuban medical team in Gambia to assist in the fight against COVID-19.

The Cuban Medical Brigade in Gambia is a continuation of the example of Carlos Juan Finlay, of the values we inherited from our eternal commander Fidel, our internationalist principles and our unconditional love to save lives and help those most in need with altruism and dignity.

Today we feel with pride that our path through this African country is well-trodden with actions and facts that speak for themselves, hundreds of thousands of people treated, lives recovered, successful surgeries, successful deliveries, dental care, diagnostic tests performed, that have made history in a mission that has already been reaping the love and gratitude of a people who know how to value their work and who are eternally grateful for their collaboration for more than 24 years.

Congratulations on Medicine Day!

(Rebelión, December 3, 2020. Translated from original Spanish by TML. Photos: Radio Rebelde, Cubacoopera Gambia)

This article was published in

Volume 50 Number 49 - December 19, 2020

Article Link:
Day of the Titans and Heroic Guerrillas in White Coats - María Inés Álvarez Garay


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