A global pandemic in a globalised world. Over one million people have died. What could we have done differently to save lives and livelihoods? In search of collective solutions and best practice, Dr Helen Yaffe and Dr Valia Rodriguez look to Cuba for valuable lessons. By reacting decisively, mobilising their extensive public healthcare system and state-owned biotech sector, Cuba has kept contagion and fatalities down and initiated clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine. They have also treated patients and saved lives overseas.
Based on interviews with top scientists, community doctors and medical internationalists, this documentary explores Cuba’s outstanding response to the global pandemic. Interviewees include Dr Luis Herrera, scientific adviser to BioCubaFarma; Dr Gerardo Guillén, Director of Biomedical Research at the world-leading Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology; Dr Mitchell Valdes Sosa, Director General of the Cuban Neuroscience Centre; a family doctor from Havana, who conducts daily door-to-door health checks; a medical student who joined the public health campaign; Jesús Ruiz Alemán, a Cuban medical internationalist who went to Lombardy in Italy.
Through active screening, testing, tracing, isolating, hospitalising and following up cases, by 19 October the island of 11.2 million people reported just 6,258 cases and 127 deaths. No healthcare workers, pregnant women or children had died of Covid-19 on the island and clinical trials were underway for 13 Covid-19 related domestic biopharma products. Since March, 3,700 Cuban medical specialists in disease control have treated over 350,000 Covid-19 patients in nearly 40 countries. This has been achieved despite the Trump administration severely tightening sanctions against Cuba, blocking revenues and generating scarcities of oil, food and medical goods.
Cuba & Covid-19: public health, science and solidarity is produced by DaniFilms in collaboration with Belly of the Beast Cuba.
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