When planning for the next pandemic, Canada should look to Cuba for advice

David Olive’s opinion piece represents the type of forward thinking that Canada and other countries around the world need to be exercising right away. However, Olive misses the fact that a global example already exists: About 15 years ago, Cuba made the decision to start training medical personnel specifically to be able to deal with pandemics and natural disasters, both at home and abroad.

This is why Cuba, despite a continuing U.S. blockade, was able to immediately mobilize its standing corps of thousands of well-trained medical workers to buttress often-fragile health-care systems in 27 countries on four continents.

It should be noted that only one country heeded the U.S. State Department’s warnings against inviting in Cuban medical personnel: Canada, which, on March 30 publicly rejected a Manitoba First Nation’s request for a Cuban medical team.

Cuba has a long history of drug and diagnostics development, in part necessitated by the U.S. blockade. Several countries have decided to partner with Cuban medical labs in developing and marketing some of the drug breakthroughs Cuban technicians have made. Oddly, Canada is seldom mentioned in this regard, perhaps due to U.S. domination of the Canadian pharmaceutical industry.

Voices in several countries, including Canada, are calling for Cuba to be recognized for its current and singular international contributions to combatting the international spread of COVID-19 while limiting the spread at home, by being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

(Taken from The Star)

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