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The first medical cuban brigade arrived in Managua yesterday, headed by the first Deputy Health Minister of Cuba, Abelardo Ramírez Márquez.

The brigade is made up of 21 health professionals: epidemiologists, especialists, nurses who were taken to the zones of epidemic alert on the same day. The cubans also brought "Biorat" a very efficient medicine against "leptospirosis".

The Deputy-Minister said that the medical brigades have "all their basic needs covered". This includes medicines, food and equipment to treat the epidemic burst in the northen and western part of the country. "We are bringing the necessary medicines to treat these type of diseases and also portable beds and hospitals, among other things. We do not come to compete with anybody, but rather to provide service to those who are in need" Ramírez said.

The brigade was taken inmediately to Posoltega, El Viejo, Condega, San Juan de Limay and Nueva Segovia.

Cuba announced that it has put underway a program for the Central American countries victims of hurricane Mitch. This program includes the dispatch of 2,000 doctors and the training of 500 medical students per year.

The Cuban government has provided 15 tons of medicines and medical materials to Nicaragua, including 5 tons of Biorat.

Some of the members of the brigade have already been in Nicaragua during Hurricane Joan in 1988 they all insisted that they are trained to work in adversity ever since during medical school.

The President of Nicaragua, Arnoldo Alemán had at first rejected Cuba´s offer to send this brigade and was under heavy criticism from all sectors: political, social and economic, even Cardenal Obando y Bravo said that the Cuban offer should have been accepted.One wonders how many death due to leptospirosis and other epidemics would have been avoided.

France also had sent a medical brigade to Nicaragua. French medical teams both civilians and military have worked day and night attending victims of the hurricane in remote areas. They are to leave in a week time.

The french brigade brought with them 2 1/2 tons of medicines when they arrived. "We wanted to offer our medicines and our help to the suffering nicaraguans said the french Ambassador to Nicaragua." The Chief of the Brigade, Comandant Damaret said that they were very much surprised for what they found in Nicaragua. "The situation was indeed dramatic and what impressed me the most was the human value and the nicaraguan reactions" said the Comandant.

The french Ambassador has said that the cooperation will continue in the medical field and that France donations to Nicaragua right now has gone up to 3 million dollars.

The french medical brigade provided between 200 and 250 attention per day and almost 2000 attentions in 35 communities.

Mexico help arrived in Nicaragua on November 4, when it was still raining due to the Hurricane.

The mexican medical brigade has been stationed in the western part of the country. 152 mexicans formed different blocks to start distributing food and medicines and provide for medical attention.

A medical brigade of 21 people with general doctors, dentists and nurses attend about 250 every day.

Conjuntivitis, respiratory and stomach problems are the health problems that this medical brigade is seeing to. They have said that they have enough medicines to attend the victims of the hurricane in the are where they are stationed.

Many medical brigades from the United States have also arrived in Nicaragua. Some from the Government, but others from groups in solidarity with Nicaragua.

First it was the Peace Corps that brought 12 doctors and more are soon to come. Then we had Witness for Peace who also brought a medical brigade and then Operation USA. Some american Universities have offered to send their third year medical students to provide attention to the victims of the hurricane.

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