In The Gambia, Cuban Pediatrician Cares for Children, They Say Thank You Fidel!


By Beatriz Vaillant Rodríguez (*)

Rainer Paulino Basulto, Second Degree Specialist in Pediatrics, cares for the health of children in The Gambia, a small nation in Africa where Cuba’s solidarity reaches.

For the second time in that country, Paulino Basulto combines medical assistance at the Banjul State Hospital with teaching, as he contributes to the training of Gambian professionals through his study programs and enriches them with the Cuban experience.

The doctor told the Cuban News Agency that the collaboration in health matters extends to the entire territory, they participate in the visit passes and the evaluation of each patient, almost always accompanied by Medicine and Nursing students, who see the Professionals of the Island the best model to follow.

Via WhatsApp explains that they established an online Pediatric Care Network with the purpose of discussing distant cases in the capital and ensuring the care of infants wherever they are.

Paulino Basulto watches over the fulfillment of vaccination schemes from birth, knows well about their effectiveness against infectious and fatal diseases, and educates Gambian parents to that end.

In health promotion, he concentrates his daily efforts and talks about breastfeeding, nutrition, hygiene of the little ones and prevention of accidents at home, with the help of translators given the multiplicity of dialects in that African nation.

He and his companions get little rest, he admits, but the results satisfy him: The Gambia today shows an infant mortality rate of 20 per thousand live births, in contrast to the 30-year-old death rate of 75 deaths.

Thanks to the joint work between Cubans and Gambians, mortality from infectious diseases such as bacterial pneumonia and meningitis, malnutrition, tuberculosis and AIDS decreases, with severe forms of vertical transmission from mothers to offspring, he stresses.

Dr. Paulino, as his students call him, likes teaching and that is why he shares his knowledge on how to deal with the prevention of some diseases that affect entire families and impact the society and economy of The Gambia.

His dedication, despite the remoteness of his only son, confirms the commitment to life of his patients and family, who recognize him on the street and sometimes shout ‘tubab’, ‘tubab’, which means “white man” and others: Thank you Fidel!

And yes, he acts every day in accordance with the principles of solidarity and internationalism instilled by the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and which constitute the basis of the foreign policy of the Greater Antilles.

This is why he defines Africa as his second mother and is proud to be a Cuban pediatrician who cares for children in The Gambia.

(*) Journalist for the Cuban News Agency (ACN)