Council to seek Cuban medical aid for COVID-19

Derry City & Strabane Councillors have unanimously agreed to contact the Cuban government and seek help from the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade to assist with the crisis created by Covid-19.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 1:37 pm

The Henry Reeve Brigade is a Cuban group of medical professionals established in 2005 with the mission of international medical solidarity. They have been deployed worldwide in major health crises.

The proposal was made by Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly and seconded by Independent Councillor Paul Gallagher.

It read: ‘That this Council immediately contact the Cuban government and seek assistance from the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade in efforts to combat the crisis caused by Covid-19 in the Derry City & Strabane District Council area; that this Council writes to Altnagelvin Hospital, Dr Tom Black (BMA) and the Western Trust to inform them of our plans.’

Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly. (0605PG64)

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy lent her party’s support saying: “They are international heroes and we have no problem supporting the proposal.

“If we could get them to come over to our Council area – fantastic job!”

UUP Alderman Darren Guy also backed the proposal adding; “We will take help from wherever it comes – the British Army, the Irish Army, the Henry Reeve Medical team – so be it, we aren’t in a position to turn any help down.”

The proposal was carried unanimously.

Since 2005, 28 groups from the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade have carried out humanitarian missions in 22 countries, with almost 8,000 medical professionals fighting the effects of 16 floods, eight hurricanes, eight earthquakes, four epidemics including three teams that faced the West African Ebola virus epidemic.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 3,700 medics from the Brigade have supported health workers in 39 countries (from Jamaica to Italy and Angola to Indonesia) in their fight against the virus.

Following these missions in 2020, the Brigade was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and several petitions supporting the nomination gained worldwide traction.

By Gillian Anderson

Local Democracy Reporter