Cuba’s Proactive Response to Ebola

Here is a wonderful article from NY Times about how Cuba has made a proactive approach to helping with the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.  You can view the original article here.

Doctor helping unload medical supplies.

Photo courtesy of NY Times

Cuba is an impoverished island that remains largely cut off from the world and lies about 4,500 miles from the West African nations where Ebola is spreading at an alarming rate. Yet, having pledged to deploy hundreds of medical professionals to the front lines of the pandemic, Cuba stands to play the most robust role among the nations seeking to contain the virus.

Cuba’s contribution is doubtlessly meant at least in part to bolster its beleaguered international standing. Nonetheless, it should be lauded and emulated.

The global panic over Ebola has not brought forth an adequate response from the nations with the most to offer. While the United States and several other wealthy countries have beenhappy to pledge funds, only Cuba and a few nongovernmental organizations are offering what is most needed: medical professionals in the field.

Doctors in West Africa desperately need support to establish isolation facilities and mechanisms to detect cases early. More than 400 medical personnel have been infected and about 4,500 patients have died. The virus has shown up in the United States and Europe, raising fears that the epidemic could soon become a global menace.

It is a shame that Washington, the chief donor in the fight against Ebola, is diplomatically estranged from Havana, the boldest contributor. In this case the schism has life-or-death consequences, because American and Cuban officials are not equipped to coordinate global efforts at a high level. This should serve as an urgent reminder to the Obama administration that the benefits of moving swiftly to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba far outweigh the drawbacks.

The Cuban health care workers will be among the most exposed foreigners, and some could very well contract the virus. The World Health Organization is directing the team of Cuban doctors, but it remains unclear how it would treat and evacuate Cubans who become sick. Transporting quarantined patients requires sophisticated teams and specially configured aircraft. Most insurance companies that provide medical evacuation services have said they will not be flying Ebola patients.

Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday praised “the courage of any health care worker who is undertaking this challenge,” and made a brief acknowledgment of Cuba’s response. As a matter of good sense and compassion, the American military, which now has about 550 troops in West Africa, should commit to giving any sick Cuban access to the treatment center the Pentagon built in Monrovia and to assisting with evacuation.

The Cuban health sector is aware of the risks of taking on dangerous missions. Cuban doctors assumed the lead role in treating cholera patients in the aftermath of Haiti’s earthquake in 2010. Some returned home sick, and then the island had its first outbreak of cholera in a century. An outbreak of Ebola on the island could pose a far more dangerous risk and increase the odds of a rapid spread in the Western Hemisphere.

Cuba has a long tradition of dispatching doctors and nurses to disaster areas abroad. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Cuban government created a quick-reaction medical corps and offered to send doctors to New Orleans. The United States, unsurprisingly, didn’t take Havana up on that offer. Yet officials in Washington seemed thrilled to learn in recent weeks that Cuba had activated the medical teams for missions in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

With technical support from the World Health Organization, the Cuban government trained 460 doctors and nurses on the stringent precautions that must be taken to treat people with the highly contagious virus. The first group of 165 professionals arrived in Sierra Leone in recent days. José Luis Di Fabio, the World Health Organization’s representative in Havana, said Cuban medics were uniquely suited for the mission because many had already worked in Africa. “Cuba has very competent medical professionals,” said Mr. Di Fabio, who is Uruguayan. Mr. Di Fabio said Cuba’s efforts to aid in health emergencies abroad are stymied by the embargo the United States imposes on the island, which struggles to acquire modern equipment and keep medical shelves adequately stocked.

In a column published over the weekend in Cuba’s state-run newspaper, Granma, Fidel Castro argued that the United States and Cuba must put aside their differences, if only temporarily, to combat a deadly scourge. He’s absolutely right

L3 Health and Wellness Insider Call Recording

Listen in on the Health and Wellness insider call from last month.  The brilliant Dr. Aguirre explained a very complex therapy tool in such a way that all of us could understand it.  The call participants had so many great things to say Dr. Aguirre and about how they could apply this technique in their daily lives.

Thank you again Dr. Aguirre and the wonderful participants that were able to join us on this call.

Who Should Get the Shingles Vaccine?

Whether they’ve had shingles or not, adults age 60 and older should get the shingles vaccine (Zostavax), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although the vaccine is also approved for use in people ages 50 to 59 years, the CDC isn’t recommending the shingles vaccine until you reach age 60.

The shingles vaccine protects your body from reactivation of a virus — the chickenpox (varicella-zoster) virus — that most people are exposed to during childhood. When you recover from chickenpox, the virus stays latent in your body. For unknown reasons, though, the latent virus sometimes gets reactivated years later, causing shingles. The shingles vaccine prevents this reactivation.

The shingles vaccine isn’t fail-safe; some people develop shingles despite vaccination. Even when it fails to suppress the virus completely, however, the shingles vaccine may reduce the severity and duration of shingles. Although there’s hope that the vaccine will reduce your risk of severe, lingering pain after shingles (postherpetic neuralgia), studies haven’t yet found strong evidence of that effect.

The shingles vaccine is a live vaccine given as a single injection, usually in the upper arm. The most common side effects of the shingles vaccine are redness, pain, tenderness and swelling at the injection site, and headaches.

The shingles vaccine isn’t recommended if you:

  1. Have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin or any other component of the shingles vaccine
  2. Have a weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDS, lymphoma or leukemia
  3. Are receiving immune system-suppressing drugs, such as steroids, adalimumab (Humira), infliximab (Remicade), etanercept (Enbrel), radiation or chemotherapy
  4. Have active, untreated tuberculosis
  5. Are pregnant or trying to become pregnant

In some cases, the cost of the shingles vaccine may not be covered by Medicare or insurance. Check your plan


This was an original article found on Mayo Clinic.

 

Gary Jonas

Dear L3 Members,

It is with great sadness that we inform you that we lost our dear friend and fellow member Gary Jonas.  He passed away on the morning of Saturday, September 26 from a possible cardiac incident.Jonas, Gary and Roz

Gary was a father and wonderful husband to Roz Jonas and was dearly loved by his friends and family.  He had spent his early life creating amazing businesses and then later gave back to the local communities.  He helped create so many opportunities for young students that will have a lasting affect on the surrounding community.

From his wife, Roz Jonas

My heart breaks as I post the notice that Gary passed away this morning.  Gary and I were married for 41 wonderful years and have two magnificent daughters. I know he would want each of you to take advantage of all the facilities. Enjoy every moment.

Funeral services will be held Monday, September 29, 2014 at 1 p.m. at Adas Israel Synagogue, 2850 Quebec Street, NW, Washington, DC.  If you would like to send your condolences, please contact us for a home address.

Click HERE to view his obituary.

SOCIAL PROGRESS INDEX 2014

Click HERE to check out this interactive site that truly lets you see how social progress is bring made around the world.

Here’s the video to explain what this site shows.

 

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