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Cuban doctor restores vision during second mission in Guatemala

Guatemala, Nov 9 (Prensa Latina) Cuban Doctor Arnaldys Piedra, a member of the Operation Miracle program, restores vision at the José Martí Ophthalmological Hospital in the southeastern department of Jalapa during his second mission in Guatemala.

I served here in an initial mission from May 2002 to January 2005, the collaborator from Villa Clara province told Prensa Latina, in the context of the 25th anniversary of Cuba’s Medical Brigade in Guatemala.

In relation to that experience, the specialist in Comprehensive General Medicine said that he was stationed in southwestern Totonicapán, where he lived in several villages, “because they rotated us in different medical posts.”

“First I was in Palmaría, further away, twice a week I went to San Luis, I left at six in the morning and traveled nine kilometers there, attended to patients and at three in the afternoon the same distance back,” he recalled.

“With the backpack of medicines and the thermos of vaccines I was immunizing the children that I found on the side of the mountain, on the edge of the trail,” the physician added.

Among the things that moved him the most were “the high level of malnutrition that existed, parasitism, illiteracy.”

“We had to give many talks, we did study circles with midwives and health promoters that we had in the posts, who helped in educational activities for the population,” Piedra added.

Later they moved him to the San Antonio Sija health post, also in Totonicapán, until he served as economic official and took over as coordinator of the brigade in the department, with 25 professionals under his charge.

It was very hard to meshing the mechanisms, which is why “in these years, the evolution of the work has been enormous for the benefit of the people, although there is still much to do or improve,” emphasized the doctor, who is the father of three children.

He concluded the mission here after the creation of Operation Miracle by the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and “experienced collaborators were chosen mainly from Honduras, Haiti and Guatemala to take a diploma course in Ophthalmology.”

Then on a couple of occasions, he traveled to Venezuela (2005-2010 and 2012-2014), which represents his fourth solidarity assistance to a country.

Piedra commented that even though Operation Miracle was established in 2007, many people still have no vision due to cataract or pterygium.

We find other pathologies such as glaucoma, sometimes malignant eyelid tumors, and we always “try to contribute our part in what we know, in what we feel,” he stated.

“If I noticed great respect for Cuban medicine in those first moments of the Medical Brigade, now it is greater and one can feel it,” the doctor concluded.


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