Derry City & Strabane District Council raise unanimous call for Cuba’s Henry Reeve Brigade.

MEDIA ADVISORY – 28 Jan 2021 18:30

Councilor Donnelly in conversation with Dr Aleida Guevara in the Derry City Guild Hall in 2018. Dr Guevara is the daughter of the original architect of the Cuban health care system: Che Guevara.

Councillor Gary Donnelly – member of the Derry Branch, Cuba Support Group Ireland – has had the following motion passed unanimously at Derry City & Strabane District Council today:

That this council immediately contact the Cuban government and seek assistance from the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade in efforts to combat the crisis caused by Covid-19 in the Derry City & Strabane District Council area. That this council also writes to Altnagelvin Hospital, Dr Tom Black  (BMA) and the Western Trust to inform them of our plans.

Welcoming the move, Bill O’Brien, spokesperson for Cuba Support Group Ireland said:

The motion achieved cross-party and cross-community support as a result of previous work undertaken by the members of Cuba Support Group Ireland in advancing the awareness about the work of the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade over many years. 

We have always sought to unify supporters of the Cuban Revolution across political, religious, class, racial or any other difference and are particularly pleased that all political parties, nationalist, unionist and independents supported Councillor Donnelly’s motion, a rare event in a divided society and a hopeful symbol for the future.  


The Henry Reeve Medical Emergency Brigade was established in 2005 in response to a series of hurricanes that swept through the southern United States.  Cuba offered to send 1,000 medics to help with disaster relief.  On that occasion the offer was rejected. The Henry Reeve Brigade have supported over 40 countries around the world during the Covid-19 pandemic and are particularly well equipped in dealing with epidemic viruses, having been central to controlling the Ebola outbreak in Central Africa in 2014 and 2016 and the Cholera outbreak in the aftermath of the Haiti Earthquake in 2010. 

Cuba is the only country with the resources to put 1,000 specially trained emergency medical specialists on the ground in any medical emergency anywhere in the world within 48 hours, fully equipped with field hospitals, food, water, medicines and surgical supplies.

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