23 Belgian parliamentarians nominate Cuban international medical brigades for the 2021 Nobel Peace Award
A joint initiative of the PTB-PVDA, the PS (French-speaking Socialist Party ) and the sp.a (Dutch-speaking Socialist Party ) : No less than 23 members of the Belgian parliaments - including 11 from different PTB-PVDA parliamentary groups - have proposed the Cuban Medical Brigades for this year's Nobel Peace Award. This is an important support to the international campaign calling on Members of Parliament to nominate Cuban doctors for this prestigious peace award.
Why the Cuban International Medical Brigades? At a time when the world is facing an unprecedented health crisis, thousands of Cuban doctors are joining the Cuban International Medical Brigades known as International Henry Reeve Contingent. They thus lend a helping hand to local medical personnel in various countries in the fight against Covid-19. No less than 55 brigades have been active in 40 countries. During the first wave of the pandemic, Cuban medical personnel also came to the rescue in European countries, namely Italy and Andorra.
The Henry Reeve Contingent was created on September 19, 2005 in response to the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, United States. It is mainly made up of volunteers specialized in disaster and epidemics management. Their mission is to strengthen public health institutions and put themselves fully at the service of the host country. Since 2005, they have treated close to four million people and saved the lives of another 93,000 in natural disasters and health emergencies. The efforts they deployed to combat the Ebola virus in hard-hit West Africa have been recognized worldwide.
"One of the most striking lessons to be learnt by the present Covid-19 epidemic is that global cooperation in the field of health is not just on option, but a duty. Everyone's health depends on it. Cuba's Henry Reeve Contingent is a perfect example of that," say Bert Anciaux (sp.a), Raoul Hedebouw (PTB-PVDA) and André Flahaut (PS), sponsors of the initiative.
The Belgian parliamentarians consider that the efforts undertaken by the Cuban Medical Brigades make them worthy of this prestigious Nobel Peace Award : they are making an essential contribution to world peace. Where certain countries export arms, Cuba exports its medical expertise and solidarity. "This award would be a way of expressing our gratitude to the thousands of Cubans who have devoted all these years to helping their fellow human beings all over the world," the parliamentarians stated in their proposal for nomination.