World Bulletin/News Desk
United States government health officials were among those from 31 countries in the Americas attending an Ebola conference in Cuba on Wednesday, the latest show of cooperation between the historic adversaries on fighting the disease.
The meeting organized by ALBA, a bloc of leftist-governed countries, aims to coordinate a regional strategy on the prevention and control of Ebola, which has killed about 5,000 people in West Africa but in the Americas has only reached the United States. A Liberian man died Oct. 8 while visiting Dallas, Texas, the first Ebola case diagnosed in the country, and two nurses who treated him were infected but later cleared of the virus.
U.S. military personnel and Cuban medical specialists are already posted in West Africa and prepared to work side by side if needed, officials have said, and Washington has expressed appreciation to Cuba for committing hundreds of doctors and nurses to the region to treat Ebola patients.
"This is a world emergency and we all should work together and cooperate in this effort," said Nelson Arboleda, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) director for Central America, one of two U.S. officials at the Havana meeting.
ALBA, a nine-nation bloc led by socialist allies Venezuela and Cuba, held a summit in Havana last week in which presidents and prime ministers pledged to coordinate measures to prevent the spread of Ebola.
Following one of the agreements from the summit, Cuba is preparing to train health professionals from around the Americas for treating the disease, Cuban Health Minister Roberto Morales said.
"We have offered our training center ... and our experts to prepare professionals who can become facilitators in each country in the region and help elaborate and implement Ebola prevention and control plans," Morales told reporters.
With help from the World Health Organization and the CDC, Cuba has trained 461 of its own doctors and nurses for treating Ebola patients, more than half of whom have already gone to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia for six-month missions.
The United States and Cuba have been adversaries since the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power, though in recent years the two countries have cooperated on issues such as immigration, illegal drug interdiction, weather forecasts and oil spill prevention.
On Tuesday, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly for the 23rd time to condemn the decades-long U.S. economic embargo against Cuba, with many nations praising Cuba for its Ebola response.
In the 193-nation assembly, 188 countries voted for the nonbinding resolution. The United States and Israel voted against it while three abstained.Last Mod: 29 Ekim 2014, 21:33