Latin America & Caribbean

Cuban doctor Felix Baez returns home after Ebola treatment

Felix Baez, right, with wife Vania Ferrer and his son Alejandro at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana. 6 Dec 2014 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Felix Baez, right, was greeted in Havana by wife Vania Ferrer and son Alejandro

A Cuban doctor who recovered from Ebola after receiving experimental treatment in Switzerland has been welcomed back to Havana by relatives and officials.

Felix Baez was the first of Cuba's contingent of 250 doctors and nurses to have contracted Ebola in West Africa.

He was met at Havana's Jose Marti airport by his family and Health Minister Roberto Morales.

He told reporters that he and his colleagues were committed to fighting Ebola and he hoped to return to Africa.

"I will return there to finish what I started," he said.

Dr Baez fell ill in Sierra Leone and was taken to Geneva a few days later, on 20 November.

At a Swiss hospital he was treated with a precursor Ebola drug, ZMab and also given an untested Japanese flu drug.

The hospital says Dr Baez has made a full recovery.

Medical diplomacy

The Cuban contingent of medical workers is the largest sent by any country in the fight against the epidemic.

More than 5,000 people have died in the current Ebola outbreak - almost all of them in West Africa.

The contribution has won the Caribbean island international praise.

It has also focused attention on Cuba's programme of medical diplomacy.

The scheme frequently deploys teams of doctors and nurses, in some cases to provide humanitarian relief, other times in exchange for cash or goods, says the BBC's Barbara Plett Usher in Havana.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Dr Baez had to be helped off the plane when he arrived in Geneva for treatment last month

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