Medical Shipments Arrive in Cuba with the Boulder Community’s Help

Earlier this year, the Boulder Cuba Sister City Organization collaborated with Project C.U.R.E. to deliver three 40-foot containers of medical equipment and supplies to hospitals in Cuba’s Guantánamo Province. The last delivery arrived in May. The Sister City Organization would like to thank their community supporters for donations that made these shipments possible. These deliveries followed equipment sent in 2004 from Boulder Community Hospital. The items were donated when the hospital upgraded equipment. Denver-based Project C.U.R.E. is licensed by the U.S. Department of Treasury to deliver supplies to Cuba.

The Boulder Cuba Sister City Organization is a non-profit, non-political, all-volunteer organization formed to promote cultural sharing, understanding and exchange between citizens of Boulder and the municipality of Yateras, Guantánamo, Cuba. Project C.U.R.E., a nonprofit organization, is one of the world’s largest providers of donated medical supplies and equipment. Its focus is on building sustainable healthcare infrastructures by providing the tools for medical personnel to deliver medical care.

During 2006, members of the Boulder Cuba Sister City Organization and Douglas Jackson, president/CEO of Project C.U.R.E., traveled to Guantánamo Province, one of the poorest in Cuba, to jointly conduct a needs assessment with its Cuban partners. Based on the assessment, the Sister City Organization and Project C.U.R.E. developed a plan to ship three 40-foot containers of medical supplies and equipment: one for the hospital in Yateras, one for the regional hospital in Guantánamo City, and one for the second largest hospital in the province in Baracoa. The contents of each container were estimated to be worth approximately $400,000 wholesale.

The Sister City Organization could not have completed this project without the support of the community and extends its thanks to the St. Julien Hotel & Spa for hosting the group’s Cuban Connection benefit, the Southern Sun for donating funds from the SOBO Summer Festival, Aji’s Restaurant for hosting a benefit dinner, community supporters who came to these events or made donation, students at Fairview High School who raised funds by recycling cell phones and printer ink cartridges, CU students for a donation from the Environmental Center’s recycling, the Boulder Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Denver, and The Christopher Reynolds Foundation for a grant to fund one of the deliveries.

During May 2008, members of the Sister City Organization and persons affiliated with Project C.U.R.E. traveled to Cuba to confirm the containers’ arrivals and conduct needs assessments for three additional deliveries. It was a rewarding trip for all involved. The rural hospital in Yateras now has a working X-ray machine. A mammography machine was delivered to the Guantánamo hospital, and two more will go to Baracoa soon. Even though the province has a population of over 500,000 persons, there were no working mammography machines in the area when the assessment was conducted in 2006. The defibrillators that arrived at the hospital in Baracoa in early May had already been used several times to revive patients.

Project C.U.R.E. and the Sister City Organization are now planning for future deliveries. One will go to the Children’s Hospital in Guantánamo City; another is targeted for the hospital in Baracoa. The Baracoa container will include two mammography machines donated by Boulder Community Hospital as the hospital recently replaced them with digital imaging units. Although some funds for these shipments were raised at a Denver benefit last fall, more funds are required. The Sister City Organization will keep the Boulder Community updated on opportunities to contribute to this effort.

Project C.U.R.E. obtained the required licenses from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Department of Commerce to deliver the supplies and equipment, as well as to assess the status of the donated equipment and supplies once they arrived. Project C.U.R.E delivers annually over 100 oceangoing cargo containers to help meet the endless need medical and equipment. In its 20-year history, Project C.U.R.E. has worked in more than 120 countries, including Afghanistan, Brazil, Cuba, Guatemala, Nepal and Nigeria.

For more information about the Boulder Cuba Sister City Organization, visit the website at www.bouldercuba.org or send an email to bocusco@yahoo.com.

For more information about Project C.U.R.E., visit the organization’s website at www.projectcure.org.

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