Meanwhile, Cuba, a country of 11 million people with a GDP of only $72.3 billion (compared with a U.S. GDP of $17.3 trillion) fielded “the single biggest medical force on the Ebola frontline…totally showing up the United States,” according to Business Insider. 165 Cuban health workers arrived in Sierra Leone, a contingent that will soon grow to 461 – part of the 50,000 health professionals the island nation deploys in 66 countries. The Cubans outnumber the African Union’s 100-person health care contribution to Sierra Leone, the second largest, and will exceed the regional total of the international aid charity Doctors Without Frontiers (Médecins sans Frontières).
Socialist Cuba sets the international pace in the battle against Ebola, just as it has in Haiti, where Cuban doctors have long been the closest thing to a Haitian national health service. Without the Cubans, much of the Haitian poor would have no effective access to health care at all. When the earthquake hit in 2010, 350 Cubans were already in the country, soon to be joined by nearly a thousand more. Since 1998, Cuba has trained about one thousand Haitian doctors – the biggest source of physicians in the country.