Over 20,000 children suffering from different diseases have been seen in Cuba as part of the Cuban Medical Program for Children of Chernobyl, marking on Wednesday the 19th anniversary of its creation.
The plan began in 1990, when children and their relatives began to arrive en masse from Russia, the Ukraine, Byelorussia, Moldavia and Armenia to the former Pioneer Children’s Camp in Tarará, east of this city.
Dr Julio Medina, coordinator of the Program, explained that from 700 to 800 children arrive in Cuba annually to be treated by multidisciplinary teams of Cuban specialists.
So far, patients with blood diseases have been treated, especially with different variants of leukemia; bone marrow and kidney transplants have been done, as well as cardiovascular surgery due to congenital malformations.
Ukrainian Dr Nadiezhda Guerazimenko, coordinator of the Program in that country, highlighted the professionalism of Cuban doctors. She added that the best example of this statement lies in the high figure of patients who have returned to their respective countries cured of their ailments.
The Program has a significant impact in the health and recovery of children and their families. In its almost two decades of existence, it has treated more than 16,000 Ukrainians, almost 3,000 Russians, and 671 Byelorussians.
Some 40,000 people died immediately and millions were contaminated as a result of the nuclear disaster on April 26, 1986, which at first hit the Ukraine, and then extended to Russia, Belarus and different parts of Europe and Asia.
The event caused several types of diseases, like leukemia, tumors, heart malformations, kidney problems, psoriasis, vitiligo and alopecia.
Many of the children and youngsters seen today in Cuba weren’t even born when the disaster occurred. However, their parents were affected by the radiation.