Chernobil, Programa humanitario cubano

20 octubre 2010

Distincion a la Escuela Nacional de Salud

Filed under: artículos,Noticias — Dra. Yamila Ojeda Dennis @ 15:00

La distinción fue entregada este martes por el Dr. Roberto Morales Ojeda, ministro de Salud Pública, al Dr. C. Pastor Castel-Florit, director de la Escuela Nacional de Salud Pública. El Dr. Morales manifestó a la prensa nacional que se trata de un reconocimiento al equipo de dirección de la institución y añadió que la Escuela tiene que convertirse en un elemento esencial en el proceso de reorganización y compactación del Sistema Nacional de Salud, y en el propósito de mejorar la calidad de los servicios a nuestro pueblo.

16 mayo 2010

Raúl meets with Leonid Kuchma, special envoy of the Ukrainian president

Filed under: artículos,chernobil ingles — Dra. Yamila Ojeda Dennis @ 18:51



Among the topics discussed at the cordial meeting were the state of bilateral relations between the two countries and their future development.
Picture: Raúl Abreu

Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and of Ministers, welcomed Thursday His Excellency Leonid Kuchma, former Ukrainian President and special envoy of current President Victor Yanukovych to the celebrations to mark the twentieth anniversary of the program of medical care to children affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The cordial exchange served as suitable framework to discuss the state of bilateral relations between the two countries and their future potential, as well as some of the challenges currently facing both countries and mankind at large, particularly the situation in Haiti, the adverse effects of the great damage inflicted to the environment and climate change, as well as the urgent need to face such serious problems in a responsible manner.

Mr. Kuchma presented the Order of Merit, First Class, awarded to Comrade Fidel by the Ukrainian President, and decorated the Cuban President with the Order Yaroslav the Wise, also First Class, in both cases for the care provided to the victims of the terrible accident of 26 April 1986. Raúl expressed his gratitude for the high-level recognition on behalf of the Head of the Revolution and on his own behalf.

The meeting was also attended by Cuban Public Health Minister José Ramón Balaguer Cabrera, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Foreign First Deputy Minister Marcelino Medina González, and on the Ukrainian side by the former president’s wife Lyudmila Kuchma, Ukrainian ambassador to Havana Tatiana Sayenko, First Public Health Deputy Minister Vasili Lazoryshynets, and Olexander F. Bozhko, President of the Chernobyl International Fund.

Ukrainian government and people praise Cuban care to Chernobyl children

Filed under: artículos,chernobil ingles — Dra. Yamila Ojeda Dennis @ 18:48

Machado Ventura presided over the main ceremony in Tarará

Elson Concepción Pérez, Granma daily, Havana, Thursday 2 April 2010

A decoration for Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, main inspirer of the Cuban humanitarian program of medical care to Ukrainian children affected by the Chernobyl disaster and their relatives, was presented in a ceremony marking the 20th Anniversary of the arrival in Cuba of the first Chernobyl children.

José Ramón Machado Ventura, First Vicepresident of the Councils of State and of Ministers, received the decoration from Dr. Julio Medina, director of the program in the city of Tarará.

During the ceremony, former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma announced the conferral on Fidel of the Order of Merit, First Class, and on President Raúl Castro, of the Order Prince Yaroslav the Wise, First Class.

Former President Kuchma also presented awards to Public Health Minister José Ramón Balaguer and other doctors, diplomats and collaborators who have contributed to the success of the program.

In his closing remarks, Minister Balaguer said that the program of medical care to these children is an example of what a country without many material resources can do when its people have the great spiritual wealth of having been educated in a climate of solidarity, unconditional devotion and love to other people.
The minister noted that the years of the special period, the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and the intensification of the blockade could not put a dent in the Cuban people’s spirit of solidarity and humaneness, and that Cuba continues to carry out the program according to the existing possibilities.

It was during those difficult years in the 1990s that more children benefited from the program, he said. Treatment was provided to more than 300 children with hematological illnesses, chiefly leukemia, and 136 with different types of tumors, and fourteen complex heart operations were performed, as well as two kidney transplants, six bone marrow transplants, among others.´

Minister Balaguer affirmed that the victims of the disaster who have been treated in Cuba have also found consolation and love, and he praised the efforts of those who have strived over the last 20 years to provide an excellent service – workers in healthcare, science, services, gastronomy, and culture, all for the benefit of those 25 457 people, 21 378 of them children, who will always carry in their hearts the indelible friendship between the people of Ukraine and Cuba.

7 mayo 2010

More than 25 thousand Chernobyl patients have been treated in Cuba

Filed under: artículos,chernobil ingles — Dra. Yamila Ojeda Dennis @ 14:29

Prensa Latina, 30 March 2010.

Havana, 30 March (PL) More than 25 thousand persons affected by the Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion have been cared for in Cuba to date, announced Dr. Julio Medina, director of the medical program.

Most of the patients were children from Moldova, Belarus and Ukraine, said Dr. Medina at the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the project started on the initiative of the leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro.

Of a humanitarian character and free of charge, the program is based on integral medical care, and includes psychological rehabilitation, a balanced diet and cultural activities, remarked the specialist, who also highlighted the presence of women as an important component of the program.

Dr. Medina recalled that the first patients to arrive mostly suffered from oncohematological diseases caused by radiation, but a wide range of other illnesses have also been treated, such as thyroid, endocrine, digestive and orthopedic disorders.

All the illnesses affecting the person are treated, with a high healing rate and a great impact on the overall health of patients, he added.

For twenty years, even in the harshest economic conditions, Cuba has continued to finance and provide specialized care. During that period, six bone marrow transplants, two kidney transplants and 14 cardiovascular operations have been performed, among many other treatments, said Dr. Medina.

In the early morning of 26 April 1986, an explosion in the fourth reactor at Chernobyl plant in Ukraine expelled into the environment about 200 tons of nuclear material with a radioactivity of 50 million curies.

The first 137 patients arrived in Cuba four years later, on 29 March 1990.

Cuba is the island of freedom and human rights

Filed under: artículos,chernobil ingles — Dra. Yamila Ojeda Dennis @ 14:21

ICAP pays homage to those who have made possible the program of medical care to Chernobyl children

Elson Concepción Pérez, GRANMA DAILY, 1 April 2010.

Olga Denisova, director of the Ukrainian Chernobyl Fund, defined Cuba as the “island of freedom and human rights” during a meeting held at Casa de la Amistad (Friendship House) yesterday, where ICAP praised the work of those who have contributed to such a humanitarian project.

In the presence of Ukrainian children and relatives being cared for in Cuba, as well as Cuban doctors and officials who have contributed to the success of the program for the past two decades, ICAP president Kenia Serrano praised “the strong friendship and solidarity ties between Cuba and Ukraine.”

The institution presented recognition certificates to cooperators from the two countries, and so did Victor Pasak, president of the Ukraine–Cuba Friendship Association.

Ukrainian ambassador Tatiana Sayenko expressed the gratitude of her country and its people to the Cubans who “have given their love, affection and solidarity to Chernobyl children and their families.”

6 mayo 2010

Statement by Ukrainian mothers

Filed under: artículos,chernobil ingles — Dra. Yamila Ojeda Dennis @ 11:19

We, mothers of children affected by the Chernobyl disaster and members of the International Chernobyl Fund, hereby address all persons of good will on earth: Listen to our words, for they come from deep within our motherly hearts.

For a mother there is no greater misfortune than her child’s illness. In the year 1990, when Cuba and Commander Fidel reached out to help ill Ukrainian children, we highly valued such a great deed of the Cuban people, and we wish to declare to the entire world that as far as ill children are concerned, there is no action as humane as the Ukrainian–Cuban “Chernobyl children” program.
We wholeheartedly wish to thank the immense Cuban people, their wise leader Fidel Castro, who made this program become a reality, and Raúl Castro, who has now taken over its leadership, for everything they have done for Ukrainian children affected by the Chernobyl disaster.
There are things in life that cannot be bought or sold with money: friendship, mutual assistance and support in difficult times, and that is what now so firmly unites the people of Cuba and Ukraine.

We are confident that the just and honest voice of Ukrainian mothers will be heard by people the world over.

And we wish to declare that there is no country freer than Cuba, which is known worldwide as the Island of Freedom, where never and under no circumstances have human rights been violated.

We, Ukrainian mothers, wish to express our deepest appreciation to the people and the government of the Republic of Cuba for the treatment provided to our children. We hope that the black shadow of the Chernobyl disaster will vanish, and that friendship between our two great peoples will last forever.

¡Viva Cuba! ¡Viva Ucrania!

Cuba and Fidel will be remembered forever in Ukraine

Filed under: artículos,chernobil ingles — Dra. Yamila Ojeda Dennis @ 10:42

Elson Concepción Pérez, GRANMA DAILY, 30 March 2010

“This is a beautiful day. Long live Cuba! Long live Fidel!” cried out former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, who traveled to Cuba as special envoy of the current Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovych, to attend the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the program of medical care to children affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

On Monday morning, former president Kuchma and his wife Lyudmila toured the Tarara facilities where Ukrainian children are cared for, and restated to the press that Cuba and Fidel will be remembered forever by Ukrainian children and their families.
“There is no greater happiness for their mothers, and for my country at large, than seeing these children recover their health. They are now healthy thanks to the doctors and to Cuban solidarity,” he remarked.

Former president Kuchma pointed out that his country’s current government will strive to substantially improve relations with Cuba, and will likewise provide the support required by this medical care program.
At the meeting with the press, Ukrainian ambassador to Cuba Tatiana Saienko expressed “our deepest gratitude to all doctors and other personnel who have contributed to save lives and have put a smile back on our children’s faces.”

Olga Denisova, current Deputy President of the International Chernobyl Fund, emotionally recalled the time 20 years ago when she first came to Cuba on board the first plane bringing Chernobyl children. She was accompanied by her son, who had been affected by radiation. She also recalled that Fidel gave them his uniform cap, on which he had signed his name, and gave out neckerchiefs to the children, who had come here “in search of hope.”
Dr. Julio Medina described the program of medical care to children affected by the Chernobyl accident as a dignity endeavor in which people improve their human worth by helping to save lives, the greatest contribution of the program being its human value.

Fidel and Raúl Castro decorated by Ukrainian President Yanukovych

Filed under: artículos,chernobil ingles — Dra. Yamila Ojeda Dennis @ 10:35
for assistance with consequences of Chernobyl accident

Juan Luis Aguilera,  CUBADEBATE,  27 MARCH 2010

With a smile on her face, little Sophia shows her notebook to Dr. Xenia.

Ukrainian Head of State Victor Yanukovych awarded a decoration to Cuban former president Fidel Castro and his successor Raúl Castro, for the help provided to children victims of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, announced the Ukrainian Presidency today.

According to a press release, President Yanukovych awarded Fidel Castro the Order of Merit in its first degree, and his brother Raúl the Yaroslav the Wise Order in its first degree, for their “important contribution to the health recovery of Chernobyl children.”

Public Health Minister José Ramón Balaguer Cabrera was decorated with Yaroslav the Wise Order in its fifth degree.

Some 23 000 children have received medical care at the Cuban rehabilitation center in Tarara to overcome the consequences of the most serious nuclear accident in history, occurring in 1986 at the Ukrainian nuclear plant of Chernobyl, states the press release, published on the Ukrainian Presidency’s web page.

The Ukrainian president expressed his “deep gratitude” to Cuban authorities for the “enormous help” given to Ukraine to overcome the consequences of the nuclear catastrophe.

At 01:24 hours on 26 April 1986, two explosions took place in reactor number four at the Chernobyl plant. The event constitutes a turning point in the history of the peaceful use of atomic energy.

The power plant, whose failure was due to a sequence of human, technical and construction errors, expelled into the atmosphere up to 200 tons of fissible material whose radioactivity was equivalent to between 100 and 500 atom bombs like the one dropped on Hiroshima.

More than 600 000 Soviet fire fighters, soldiers, officials and volunteers participated in tasks aimed at covering up the destroyed reactor and contain the lethal radiation, a heroic feat that would eventually result in the death or lifelong disability of many of them.

(With information from EFE)

Chernobyl children

Filed under: artículos,chernobil ingles — Dra. Yamila Ojeda Dennis @ 10:08

Irene Izquierdo, 27 March 2010, Tribuna de la Habana.

Some define Chernobyl as a shadow that haunts Ukrainians. People who were affected by radiation in their childhood see the effects of the accident reappear in their children, who now suffer from a variety of conditions. People cared for during the past twenty years or who are being cared for at present, come back to find relief for their offspring.
For some twenty thousand mothers from that European country, the Cuban Program of Medical Care to Chernobyl Children is written in golden letters in the history of mankind. Based on the humanitarian vocation of this Island, it was Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro who fostered the idea that many children for whom there were no treatment options according to some doctors, be welcomed here.

On 29 March 1990 he personally welcomed at José Martí International Airport the first group of children, who immediately received medical care at the Institute of Hematology and the Oncology Service at Juan Manuel Márquez pediatric hospital. Some days later Cuban children gave up a section of their pioneer city in Tarará so that a team of doctors, specialists, nurses and the personnel indispensable to provide a treatment of excellence, would strive to save the lives of little ones who had one way or another been affected by the biggest nuclear accident in history, which had taken place at the end of April 1986.

An unequalled humanitarian program started to take shape and grow. For twenty years, even when economic conditions were at their harshest, Cuba has financed and provided specialized medical care capable of bringing health and a fuller life back to children like Pavel, Zoja, Ekaterina, Roman, Stephania, Sofia and so many others in a list of over 24 thousand children and adults.

Any of the persons who had the privilege of starting this program – not only the team in Tarará, but in many other hospitals in the city – may speak about the work done in two decades, and about reciprocal love when seeing pain turn into joy.

Doctor Arístides Cintra Rivero, Head of Pediatric Services at the medical center, located east of the Cuban capital, explains that care is divided into four groups, following the structure applied in Ukraine.

Patients with invalidating, oncohematological diseases who require complex surgical treatment are in the first group. The second group is for patients suffering from any condition not included in the former group. Those with conditions that may be treated on an outpatient basis are in the third group. They are not hospitalized, but treated at their own homes. And the fourth group is for seemingly healthy patients undergoing a medical checkup.

What health care actions are performed at the facility? Upon arriving, all patients undergo a thorough medical examination and their clinical records are prepared. Dispensarization is carried out during the first week.

Great rigor and ethics characterize both laboratory testing and the determination of the procedure to be applied, in accordance with the condition of each patient.
Both integral medical care and rehabilitation are available. A crucial role is played by psychologists, translators and organizers of leisure activities to supplement specialized medical care procedures.

The celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the Cuban Program for the Medical Care of Chernobyl Children started a few days ago in Tarará City. An international conference on nuclear accidents and disasters, radiological and biological protection and the organization of health programs for communities affected by disasters, will be held from 30 March to 1 April.

Once again, visitors will have a chance to see how much is done for human beings, especially for children in need of care, irrespective of their economic resources or their lineage, for what really counts is health, a gift as valuable as life itself.

Cuba a hope for Chernobyl children

Filed under: artículos,chernobil ingles — Dra. Yamila Ojeda Dennis @ 9:56

Various authors, Juventud Rebelde, 27 March 2010

Dr. Xenia Laurenti, Deputy Director for Medical Assistance at the Cuban Program of Medical Care to Chernobyl Children, on aspects of the treatment provided to those affected by the nuclear disaster.

With a smile on her face, little Sophia shows her notebook to Dr. Xenia.
Picture: Juan Luis Aguilera

When, on 26 April 1986, the nuclear reactor in Chernobyl, north of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, exploded, Lt. Col. Konstantin Kostiuk and other colleagues arrived almost immediately on the scene to evacuate the personnel. As protection, they only wore a mask, and the order that, upon return, they burn the clothes they had worn.

The situation created around the catastrophe prevented people from leaving the area while the radioactive cloud expanded. Konstantin’s daughter Irina, then a child, remembers that on May 1st many attended the Workers Day parade, unaware of the danger they were exposed to.

Irina is in Havana these days, with her two young daughters, who are receiving medical treatment in Tarará, a beach town east of the Cuban capital. The elder, Anastasia, has cerebellar ataxia, and was in physical therapy when we visited their home. The younger, Sophia, who is undergoing allergy treatment, cheerfully showed us her coloring book, and then hugged Dr. Xenia Laurenti, Deputy Director for Medical Assistance at the Cuban Program of Medical Care to Chernobyl Children.

Dr. Xenia’s daily life revolves around a true sea of affection, one that also reaches health professionals, translators and parents here. It is to her that Juventud Rebelde has come, for insights into the Cuban program.
What are the main conditions of these children?

The first children that arrived had cancer-related blood diseases. They were transferred to Juan Manuel Marquez and William Soler pediatric hospitals in Havana, and after treatments were decided for them they came back here for follow-up.

They were seriously ill, and were placed under Group I, that is, complex life-threatening pathologies. Under Group II were those with chronic diseases, who needed initial hospitalization but could later continue treatment on an outpatient basis. Group III was basically similar, and Group IV was for those seemingly healthy, but who after testing came up with some kind of condition, such as a high dental caries rate.

Were these all related to the nuclear accident?

Scientifically, it is hard to tell, because these leukemias behave in the same manner as anywhere else. We have conducted DNA studies of patients, we have measured the radiation, and there have been very few cases of high levels of it. The others have remained at non-lethal levels.

The most common diseases are of an endocrine nature (such as thyroid cancer), skin conditions (vitiligo, psoriasis, alopecia), and gastrointestinal and orthopedic disorders (malformations and spinal deviations). These were the main ones.

In the case of these children, who were born long after the accident, are their diseases hereditary or have they been acquired from the environment?

There are radioisotopes that were dispersed by the explosion, especially cesium-137, which has a long life, approximately 50 years, and may remain in nature.

On the other hand, the psychological impact on an affected family is itself a disease. If you ask a Ukrainian child what he or she would like the most, the answer will not be “toys”, but “being healthy”. It has been psychologically incorporated. And part of the program is specifically aimed at psychological rehabilitation, to the non-rejection of any type of pathology. Our goal is to heal.

There is one fundamental condition to come to Cuba: belong to a family affected by the disaster. Ukrainians have clearly marked the areas that were reached by the radioactive cloud, which expanded 30 miles from the nuclear plant, and they have created a welfare program for those families. Given the prevalence of cesium-137 in the atmosphere, Chernobyl remains latent.

What have been the challenges for Cuban doctors in view of the diseases affecting these children?

First degree pediatricians have had to face diseases not from their field of specialization. That’s where science comes in: inquiring, researching, so that the child’s condition may be properly addressed. Find out whether a given syndrome is indicative of this or that disease and should be treated by this or that specialist. We carry out a full screening of the patient, from beginning to end.

So it has meant a leap forward in research…
Indeed. Patients come with multiple diagnoses, and families are disoriented. In Cuba we provide them with an accurate diagnosis. Mothers show real appreciation, and that makes us very happy.

We had, for instance, a young man with a multiple diagnosis who was taking some 70 tablets a day. We discovered here that he had muscle dystonia: totally involuntary movements. He was put under a research protocol, underwent a first intervention at CIREN (Neurological Research Center), then a second intervention, and he came out walking, speaking Spanish, and incorporated into society after ten years in Cuba.

Have there been distinctly Cuban solutions?

Yes. There is the use of Dr. Carlos Miyares Cao’s medications for rehabilitation. We do not alternate other treatments applied in the world, but only use melagenina for vitiligo, pilotrofina for alopecia and coriodermina for psoriasis. The results have been very good.

There is another example: a child born with a malformation of the ear. They use prostheses elsewhere, but there are risks, like their breaking. Our plastic surgeons used cartilage from the patient himself for the correction.

What is the job of the Cuban medical team posted in Ukraine?

There is a medical brigade in the south. From the start there was a Cuban doctor in Kiev, working in the selection of affected children. Then in 1998 the Ukrainian Public Health Ministry became involved in the process. The brigade is in the south, in a zone free from contamination, and it is formed by a hematologist, an endocrinologist, a psychologist, a dermatologist, a general practitioner, and a translator. They provide follow-up to children returning from Cuba.

Not all of those coming to Cuba are related to the Chernobyl disaster. There are also orphaned and deprived children. For example, we treated a child who had suffered burns, with many after-effects. He was put under intensive rehabilitation, for he was also on a wheelchair. He got prostheses, and he is now back in school in Ukraine.

Is the program leaving an emotional imprint on the personnel involved?

There is a word to describe these 20 years: hope. We experience it constantly. There is hope in the children and their parents. Cuba is hope for them. And for us that is a challenge. There are conditions that cannot be reversed. But when a child joins normal life, when a mother sees her child walking again, that is a major achievement. In the first years, when equipment was insufficient, the rehabilitation of many children came out of the hands of our physical therapists. Getting things done, introducing change when change is needed. That is our medicine; that explains its prestige. And we are proud of it all.

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Autor: Dra. Yamila Ojeda Dennis | Contáctenos
Programa cubano de atención médica integral a niños relacionados con el accidente de Chernobil