Support the Cuban medical disaster relief team’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize!

medicsMESSAGE OF SUPPORT FROM THE EDITOR OF LALKAR: To the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen Via Online through the Website:

Dear Sir

In my position as the editor of LALKAR, a leading voice of the Indian community and other progressive sections of the population in Britain, I am writing to you to urge you to grant the Nobel Peace Prize to the Henry Reeve International Contingent of Cuban Doctors Specialised in Situations of Disaster and Serious Epidemics. That its mission and work deserve to be recognised is evidenced by its glowing history since its formation in 2005.

Henry Reeve is guided by the principle that there is a human right to heatlh without discrimination as to race, nationality or economic circumstances – on the basis of equality and social justice.

Founded in 2005 in response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the Henry Reeve contingent, prior to the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic, had already worked in 22 countries, stretching from Latin America and the Caribbean through to Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

9,000 Cuban health professionals had participated in its missions, which had provided medical care to 89,000 people and saved 59,000 lives. Its work has been recognised by the World Health Organization which has granted it a prestigious award. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Henry Reeve has reached 35 states, treated more than 300,000 people and saved 9,000 lives.

61% of the 3,700 Cuban health professionals participating in this latest health emergency are women – a testament to the high status of women in the contingent.

During the 2005 earthquake disaster that struck Pakistan, killing 70,000 people, injuring 100,000 and rendering 3 million homeless, the Henry Reeve contingent earned the plaudits of the grateful Pakistani people.

In view of its self-sacrificing services to humanity, to the victims of disaster, the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to this organisation would be a way of recognising the importance of its mission and the important role it has played, and continues to play. I recommend the organisation as the most deserving in this area of work and I strongly urge you to grant your prestigious award to this contingent of selfless health professionals.

Harpal Brar, 26 AUGUST 2020




Provide humanitarian-medical-health aid to the populations of countries that are victims of natural disasters and epidemics, and help their recovery.


The defense and exercise of the human right to health that implies access and universal health coverage, free of charge and without distinction of race, religion, political ideology or economic or social condition, of people and communities to adequate and timely comprehensive services and determined according to your needs.

The promotion of the human right to peace defends the full enjoyment of the rights derived from the inherent dignity of all human beings, which includes the right to life. It fosters dialogue and international cooperation with the aim of improving the health indicators of the affected population, based on respect and the needs of the countries requesting aid; and responds to emergency situations, disasters or epidemics, which may mean an obstacle to peace in the future; as well as recognising the full development of a culture of peace.

Humanism that ratifies the dignity of the human being, on the basis of equality and social justice and contributes to the development of peoples, in particular, by providing health for all.

The solidarity that unites men and peoples in such a way that the well-being of one determines that of the other. It bases mutual aid and collaboration between peoples and nations, regardless of the differences between their political, economic and social systems or their levels of development; while practicing tolerance, respect for their traditions and culture and the promotion of peace.


The Contingent was formed on September 19, 2005, in response to the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina to the town of New Orleans in the United States, which left around 1,336 deaths and losses valued at 75 billion dollars. He was called "Henry Reeve" in homage to the young American, a native of Brooklyn, New York, who joined as a line soldier to a detachment of Cuban patriots that landed on May 4, 1869 on the eastern coasts of Cuba, to join to the war of independence, which had started in October 1868, against the colonial rule of Spain. In Cuban historiography, his example has been a paradigm of international solidarity aid.


Its members are mobilised immediately between 24 and 48 hours, depending on the type of adverse health event. Most of its members have experience in international health missions. Participation is voluntary.


As of August 10, 2020, the Contingent has assisted 46 nations and five Non-Self-Governing Territories. In Latin America and the Caribbean, it has been present in 22 States: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize (2 times), Bolivia, Chile (2 times), Dominica (2 times), Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Grenada, Haiti (4 times), Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico (3 times), Nicaragua, Peru (2 times), Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela. In Asia and Oceania in five countries: China, Fiji Islands, Indonesia, Nepal and Pakistan. In Sub-Saharan Africa in 13 nations: Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry (2 times), Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone (2 times), São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Togo. In North Africa and the Middle East, it has assisted three countries: the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait. In Europe in three states: Andorra, Azerbaijan and Italy. The British Non-Self-Governing Territories assisted have been: Anguilla, Turks and Caicos Islands, Virgin Islands, Montserrat and Martinique, overseas department of France.

More than 9,000 Cuban health professionals have participated in these missions. Approximately 4 million people have received medical care. More than 89,000 lives have been saved.

On May 26, 2017, the International Contingent of Doctors Specialised in Disaster Situations and Serious Epidemics “Henry Reeve” received the Dr. LEE Jong-wook Award from the World Health Organisation at the ceremony of the 70th World Assembly of the Health. The award was in recognition of his work in emergency care medicine. On this occasion, the presenter of the award, IHN Yohan, who chairs the Korean Foundation for International Health Services, expressed "the Henry Reeve Contingent has spread a message of hope to the whole world."

On August 13, 2020, the National Congress of Honduras approved to award the high decoration “Cruz de Comendador” to the Contingent “Henry Reeve” for his outstanding contribution to benefit the health of the Honduran people and the results achieved in that country in the ight against COVID-19.


Faced with the classification of COVID-19 as a pandemic, the greatest health danger that the world has faced in the 21st century, the “Henry Reeve” Contingent prepared to assist the peoples who requested it. In the span of five months, its presence has reached 35 states. It has treated more than 300 thousand people and saved more than 9 thousand lives. More than 3,700 Cuban health professionals have participated, of which 61.2% are women.

Of the 46 brigades formed to deal with the pandemic, 37 continue to provide health services in 26 nations (Angola, Azerbaijan, Barbados, Belize, Cape Verde, Dominica, Grenada, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Honduras , Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait, Mexico, Peru, Qatar, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Togo and Venezuela) and five Non-Self-Governing Territories (Anguilla, Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, Martinique and Montserrat).

The “Henry Reeve” Contingent has been present in most regions of the world. In Central America, in 3 States (Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico). In the latter with four specialised medical brigades. In general, the six medical missions have treated more than 80 thousand people. In the Caribbean, they have assisted 12 countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Jamaica, Grenada, Haiti, Belize, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago) and provided services about 33 thousand people. In South America they have contributed with their work in confronting the pandemic, in Peru with four brigades and in Venezuela; which has allowed to serve approximately 19 thousand people.

In Europe, four medical brigades joined the national efforts of Italy (2 brigades in Lombardy and Piedmont, respectively), Andorra and Azerbaijan, which offered their services to more than 16 thousand people. In addition, the Contingent has been present in the non-autonomous British territories (Anguilla, Turks and Caicos Islands, Virgin Islands, Montserrat) and Martinique, French overseas department, where more than a thousand people have been assisted.

In Africa, 10 medical brigades have treated more than 38,000 people in Angola, Togo, Cape Verde, South Africa, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone and Kenya.

In the Middle East, the four medical brigades have provided services in Qatar (two medical missions), the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have treated more than 138 thousand patients.


As a result of cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), in less than two weeks more than 5,000 Cuban doctors and nurses, members of the “Henry Reeve” Contingent, volunteered to combat the epidemic; from them, more than 500 health professionals were selected and trained; and finally, 256 participated.

As in 2010, when Cuban doctors faced the cholera epidemic in Haiti, which allowed them to provide health services to more than 400 thousand people and save the lives of approximately 76 thousand, the Contingent was present in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea Conakry in 2014 in Ebola treatment rooms, in which more than 2,000 patients were treated. It was the only medical mission that provided direct healthcare to Ebola patients. During this period, two members of the “Henry Reeve” Contingent died of malaria and a health professional fell ill with Ebola.


The first emergency that the Contingent faced, a few days after its creation, was in Guatemala, to assist the population affected by the floods that occurred in October 2005. A total of 688 health professionals assisted more than 477 thousand people and saved the lives of more than 1,300.

Since its constitution, the Contingent has developed 20 medical missions specialized in dealing with natural disasters; eight of them due to the occurrence of floods in Guatemala (2005), Bolivia (2006), Belize (2007), Mexico (2007), El Salvador (2009), Chile (2015), Peru (2017), Sierra Leone (2017) ; seven in earthquakes in Pakistan (2005), Indonesia (2006), Peru (2007), China (2008), Chile (2010), Nepal (2015), Ecuador (2016), and five in hurricanes in Haiti (2016), Islas Fiji (2016), Dominica (2017), Mexico (2017) and Mozambique (2019). His actions made it possible, with the participation of more than 4 thousand health professionals, to serve more than 3 million people.

The work of the Contingent is highlighted after the impact of the October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, which caused the loss of 70 thousand human lives, 100 thousand injured and 3 million homeless. In a period of almost eight months, the more than 2,000 professionals It is Cuban health care for more than 1,700,000 patients. More than 14,000 surgical operations were performed, more than 166,000 survivors received specialised rehabilitation treatment, and more than 2,000 were saved.


During these 15 years, the “Henry Reeve” Contingent has been part of international efforts to increase cooperation in health matters among nations. In this period, 71 medical brigades have been grouped together, 46 destined to confront COVID-19, three in the face of the Ebola epidemic, two in the fight against the cholera epidemic, and 20 in the event of natural disasters; eight of them specialized in floods, seven in earthquakes and five in hurricanes.

The Contingent has been active in its work. It has developed from 1 to 4 missions per year. In these last five months its effective action in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic stands out.


For more than half a century, Cuba has participated in the international medical cooperation project, which has reached the geography of more than 150 countries. The feelings of solidarity and humanism have been his inspiration. The founding origins date back to May 1960, when a medical brigade assisted the people of Chile, victims of an earthquake, and to May 1963, the date on which a group of 50 Cuban Health professionals travelled, signing an agreement. between both nations, to the Republic of Algeria, in North Africa. After 57 years of humanitarian aid, at the end of 2019, a total of 1,931 million people have received preventive and curative health care, in all latitudes of the planet, improving their individual well-being, health status and saving the lives of 8 , 2 million of them.

In the period from May 1960 to February 2005, a period of 45 years, emergency medical brigades, embryo of the Henry Reeve Contingent, carried out 30 missions of aid and health and humanitarian assistance in 19 countries, participating in them 2 055 workers from health. The countries were: Algeria, Chile, El Salvador and Peru (on 2 occasions); Nicaragua (5 times), Honduras (4 times), Armenia, Iran, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Colombia, Venezuela, Kosovo, Ecuador, Paraguay, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Guyana, which according to geographic area correspond to the Caribbean 2 , Central America 4, South America 7, Eurasia 2, Africa 1, Middle East 1 and Far East and Pacific 2. The events or natural conditions that motivated humanitarian aid were: earthquakes 11, hurricanes 7, volcanic eruption 1, landslide by rains and floods 4, epidemics 4, fire 1 and tsunami 2. On one occasion the humanitarian aid was after a war conflict.

Meteorological phenomena of great magnitude in 1998, which devastated large areas of the Caribbean and Central America (Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala), led to the creation of a new international humanitarian aid project to assist the affected nations, which It was called the Comprehensive Health Program (PIS). This project was complemented by the founding of the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) in Havana at the end of 1999, so that young people from countries punished by these natural phenomena would qualify as doctors and return to their native communities.

In ELAM in 15 years 29,749 doctors from 123 nations from all regions of the world have graduated. Currently there are 1,358 students from 87 countries (school year 2019-2020) enrolled.

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