MATO GROSSO DO SUL, BRAZIL.- Cuba, its humanism, its solidarity and its doctors make up a whole. This is how I feel and I know that we are many who think in this way. Those who distort or try to distort that reality, do so knowing that they lie and, worse, without taking into account the suffering and lack of protection in which they add their peers.

With regard to the events that occurred in Brazil and after the Declaration of the Cuban Ministry of Public Health was published, I communicated via Internet with Dr. Lidia M. Ronquillo, from Camagüey who, from her experience in Camaguey, and later in the capital, where she lives since 1994- adds those of Brazil. Lidia arrived in that country on December 3, 2016, a very difficult date for her to forget, for starting her first internationalist mission just on the Day of Latin American Medicine.

"As a doctor I owed myself this opportunity and as a human being too. I was formed with the purpose of offering health and love to the neighbor, to the most needy and that person who is in anywherein the planet. The time came when my three children are older and I could experience the satisfaction of working where they needed me the most and it was in Brazil, "she wrote.

-Where did you serve until now?

- In the Municipality of Bonito, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, in the Family Health Strategy (ESF) Center. This is a privileged site because of its nature, which makes it one of the main chosen for ecotourism.

I work in the center of the city and without setbacks; however, other colleagues, because they are in distant places, like roads in bad conditions, therefore at risk of accidents, or crossing rivers and inhospitable areas, did face problems in their day to day.More Doctors: Reasons for an early return

- Do you regret the return to Cuba?

-Yes, I regret it, mainly because I know that many of my patients will be left unprotected, especially those of low income, those who receive the Bolsa de Familia (Family's Bag) and go unnoticed in the eyes of others for being a place with preconceived concepts where politics and Economic power defines their destiny.

"I suffer because I leave my patients bedridden with injuries, ulcers ... those who looked surprised to put on my gloves and cure them. They were not used to being touched by a doctor or a nurse, that would examine them in this way.

"Also because I'm going to miss their gratitude to the improvement or the cure. Pregnant women will continue with a health system in which they do not have preconceptional risk control, where by culture and religion it is very common to find adolescents in pregnancy with all the aggravating factors, such as school dropout, having to stay at home only at care of children without other aspirations and a better future as working, studying and having an economic independence.

"These reasons are enough to regret, and much, because here almost nothing alarms, complications occur, perinatal deaths and there is not even a scientific discussion of those cases, it happens for that great majority because God wanted it and that's why I am proud of the national health system in Cuba.

"Among many programs I cannot fail to mention the Maternal-Child Health Care (PAMI), through which we work in detail the identification of risks and how to modify them, prophylaxis of prematurity, monitoring with genetic studies, monitoring by ultrasound when we perceive a delayed intrauterine growth (CIUR), without forgetting the use of equipment in the consultations of primary, secondary or tertiary level if necessary. Only with these examples do we make a huge difference ".

-What was your specialty or job content there?

-Similar to the one I perform in my country. In my case, and in all the units of the municipality it is established that children under 12 years old are attended by the pediatrician, but if sick children arrive and the specialist in Pediatrics ended up there. We take care of them because we are well prepared with a view to Primary Health Care (PHC).

"For a Cuban doctor it is impossible to tell a mother that we cannot treat her sick child for any reason. We face 40 hours of work during the week, of which we dedicate 32 hours to attendance and eight to teaching. "

-The main challenge?

-The language, although we received the Portuguese course in this country was the first barrier to communicate; however, with patience we were getting used to it. The natives-each region has their characteristics when speaking-were also accepting our "portuñol" in order to have a better way of understanding each other. From the welfare point of view, it was easier, despite having to abide by the work protocols established here.

- Did you continue improving yourself?

-Of course. I finished the postgraduate course, and like me many others, and now we were in the second cycle with monthly courses and everything was going very well.

-How were you received by the community?

-Although they are amazed at first, then they get used to it and they appreciate it because the Cuban doctor touches the patient, examines him clinically, explains the reason for the study, the reason for the treatment.

"These patients began to be treated with dignity with the arrival of the Cuban doctor, who looks into their eyes, ready to listen to their complaint, their concern, and they are treated until they are cured or relieved.

"That is why the proverb that 'love with love is paid' is valid. This is how we feel and as Fidel Castro said, to be internationalists we pay our own debt to humanity. Whoever is not able to fight for others will not be able to fight for himself. "

- What do you feel at the doors of returning to Cuba in this way?

-I'm sure we're back with our heads held high, with our duty fulfilled. We could not stay, in my case, the three years planned for the known reasons and the politics inherent in the extreme right of this nation, with its elected president Jair Bolsonaro, who today wants to discredit us and call us slaves before the world, a term that I clarify because it is not true.

"We did not come looking for money, we are here to work, to provide our knowledge in remote places where many had never seen a doctor up close. We signed a contract voluntarily, nobody forced us and so we contribute to our country having better access to resources than the genocidal block imposed on us by the US. makes more expensive or that we cannot get. With our effort we make it possible to maintain health services that are up to standard and have been recognized worldwide.

"I feel satisfied with fulfilling the sacred duty of offering health to others in Cuba, here, or wherever, and that is what Cubans do in the 67 countries where health professionals are present."

"At the same time I am proud that in these five years of the Mais Médicos mission about 20,000 Cuban collaborators attended more than 113 million 350,000 patients, in around 3 600 municipalities, and in more than 700 of these they had a doctor for the first time in history. "

-What will you do when you arrive in Cuba?

-Continue to work as I did during my 27 years as a doctor and be sure that our country proudly looks at us for placing its name and value high.

  • Translated by Linet Acuña Quilez