SALUD INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL REPORTS
ANNUAL REPORT FROM APRIL 2002 - TO
International’s first full year as a non-charitable Trust and Non
Governmental Organisation began with the formal presentation and
acceptance of our status by the relevant Cuban authorities. Co-operation
agreements were signed with the Cuban Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP)
and the CTC (Cuban TUC) Co-operation Department. The years work was to
fall into three main categories – projects in Cuba, projects in
Mozambique and the Youth Inclusion Project in Oldham and Manchester.
Funding was obtained by voluntary donations and by individual donors
paying directly for elements of the projects.
Historically, we were born out of the campaign to send a ship to Cuba
in 1999 full of trade union aid for Cuba’s hospitals, valued
by the Cuban’s at $1million. This was followed by a second ship with
51 high quality ambulances also valued at $1million in 2001, the
despatch of 1 million bars of soap, 30,000 litres of detergent and
10,000 litres of cooking oil to the health trade union in Santiago de
Cuba, and the development of aid to support Cuban football.
early part of this period was taken up with collecting funds to
purchase ambulances for Cuba, and moving them to secure warehousing at
Manchester where they would be serviced by the Oldham Youth Inclusion
Project. During this period, £59,699.97 was raised and £56,587.00
was spent on the purchase of vehicles, spare parts, mechanics costs,
fuel and labeling. Vehicles were obtained from the London, Wales and
Cumbria Ambulance Services with the assistance of UNISON, and from
auction by Karting 2000 who managed the Youth Inclusion Scheme in
agreement with MINSAP was to obtain a minimum of 50 ambulances
followed by the sending, (by MINSAP who also agreed to pay the port
costs), of a Cuban ship to Britain to collect the vehicles. Funds were
raised from trade unions, the Cuba Solidarity Campaign and associated
organisations. SI also agreed to ship containers for CSC and ASLEF and
a minibus for the Cuban Miners Union (donated by the NUM) on the Cuban
vessel. 50 ambulances were obtained during the course of the year, but
at year end it became clear that MINSAP were unable to send the ship.
There were two of reasons for this. The Cuban merchant fleet had been
significantly reduced and MINSAP had insufficient hard currency funds
to pay for commercial shipping. The Trustees of Salud International
decided therefore that the vehicles would have to be shipped
commercially, paid for by SI, who would also need to fund the
transportation of the other items for CSC/ASLEF/NUM as promised. This
may involve the sale of some vehicles to assist with funding.
International provided funding for a brand new computer system for the
CTC. This was purchased in Havana and is now in full operation.
International invited Jorge Munoz, the Head of the Virtual Health
University in Santiago de Cuba, to Britain to meet with the Chief
Executive Officer of the National Health Service University to explore
co-operation. The visit was a complete success and Salud International
now expect a formal co-operation agreement and research relationship
to develop over the coming year.
In the summer of 2003, we arranged for Eddy Brown, the CTC
International Department's interpreter, to attend six weeks training
in advanced and technical English Language at the London Metropolitan
Following our donation of a bus for the Cuban National Football Team,
and the donation of 1,500 footballs for use in schools, we have this
year donated 200 footballs to a project run by the Save the Children
Fund in the Jesus Maria barrio in Havana. The project is run jointly
with the local Municipal Council and is intended to support young
people in this district which has a long history of social problems.
Jesus Maria was the original ghetto where African slaves were
effectively held outside the city walls three hundred years ago. The
objective of the project is to eliminate these social problems through
the next generation by a range of activities and resources designed by
the local partner to assist children and young people. We also
facilitated the six month placement of two young British volunteer
workers, on Cuban Temporary Resident Permits, to work on this project.
Their work included language teaching, sports activities and coaching.
We have been asked to find a sponsor for the refurbishment of the
Union Fraternal Social Club for use by young people in the district.
representatives from SI attended the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Wilton Park Conference on Cuba in December 2002.
2.8 We continue to work
with the Benefico Juridico Hospital in Cerro barrio of Havana. This
hospital was founded by Cuban trade unions in the 1930s but today is
not in good condition. We were introduced to this hospital by SNTS,
the Cuban Health Workers Union. We have already funded the purchase
and installation of a lift, and have now reached agreement with a
donor for the purchase and installation of a new x-ray machine. Total
costs are expected to be $52,000.
2.9 Awards. In
addition to the twenty one Cuban trade union medals and decorations
made to Salud International activists, the Cuban Government’s
Council of State made an award of the Amistad Medal to one of our
workers in recognition of our work. We are extremely proud of the high
esteem in which we are held by the Cuban labour movement and
3. Youth Inclusion Project
only had to pay VAT which may be refundable on export.
scheme was developed after the riots in May 2001. It is intended to
provide activities and training to at risk youngsters from Oldham.
Originally a partnership between UNISON and the Youth Justice Board,
Salud International has now become a partner and has facilitated
£15,000 funding for the vehicle workshop specially equipped for the
safety of young people, and also £5,000 for warehouse rent. This
funding was obtained from a Salud International donor and was paid
directly to the YIP. Salud International paid £3,120 for a skilled
mechanic to work on the 50 ambulances designated for Cuba. The young
people on the scheme were trained in vehicle inspection and
maintenance skills on these vehicles.
We had bought for us, by a donor, a mobile field hospital, for
4.1 We were
asked to develop and implement a project in the Sofala Province of
Mozambique. The project was intended;
4.1.1 to help develop a
community of 2,500 families in Chupanga on the Zambesi river,
displaced by the 2001 floods,
4.1.2 to renovate a refuge
(formerly a Portuguese political prison) in Nhangau for elderly
and disabled people who lost their families during the war, which
raged in Sofala Province,
4.1.3 to support the
School for the Blind in Beira, and
4.1.4 to provide and fit
artificial limbs and to provide training for the victims of land
mine across three provinces after USAID had withdrawn funding.
was transferred directly from the donor to an account opened in Beira
specifically for this purpose. Two Mozambican signatories for this
account were agreed, and a resident British VSO worker - a previous
local government accountant and UNISON member - managed the account on
Salud International would like
to express it’s appreciation to Thompson’s Solicitors for the
management of our accounts, legal advice and hospitality, and to UNISON
for provision of administration. We would also like to record our thanks
to Lynne Barnett our Administrator.
Eric Roberts, (Chair), Phil
Lenton, (International Co-ordinator)
Annual Report March 2003 - March 2004
In this year our work has been
concentrated in three countries –
This has been a challenging year for the Trust. Our
project to send 50 ambulances from Britain to Cuba faced 1) a delay by
the Cubans in diverting a ship to the port of Liverpool to collect the
vehicles, 2) a new Cuban Minister for Public Health with whom we had to
develop a new relationship and who had different priorities to his
predecessor, 3) a serious shortage of hard currency in Cuba and 4) the
steep contraction in the Cuban merchant fleet. It became clear at
meetings with MINSAP early in 2003, that the only solution was to send
the vehicles by non Cuban carriers at commercial prices and that the
Cubans could not pay.
1.1. We therefore concluded that we would have to
sell some vehicles to pay for the shipping of the remainder and
priority would be given to the CSC containers. Consequently we were
able to ship around two dozen vehicles at preferential prices
totalling around £24,000, but only received £2,870 from sales. The
ambulance project is now closed although we were able to support and
advise on projects to send ambulances to Chile, Pakistan and
1.2. In July 2003, we part hosted and provided
logistical support for a visit to London and the North of England by
four health trade unionists from Santiago de Cuba. The group from
SNTS were guests of honour at the Durham Miners Gala. We have
arranged for one of the group who is Head of the Virtual Health
University in Santiago, to stay in Britain to undertake joint
research with the National Health Service University.
1.3 We purchased a new X-ray machine for the
Benefico Juridico Hospital in Havana. This is a continuation of a
project at this hospital which was founded by Cuban trade unions. We
had previously paid for the installation of a lift in the hospital.
The funding was from a donor who chooses to remain anonymous.
1.4 The Cuban Health Workers Union, SNTS, asked
us to help their union make visits to the Cuban Medical Brigades in
Latin America and the Caribbean. This involved paying for flights
for their representatives. It was explained that this was not possible at that time
as all our funds were dedicated to paying for the transportation of ambulances to Cuba. However, we were invited
to visit the Cuban Medical Mission in Haiti to obtain first hand
experience of their work. We accepted this invitation and made the visit in
December 2003. The result of this visit is contained in a
separate report and may lay the basis of our future work.
1.5 Following this visit, we were asked by the
SNTS to help promote the work of 16,000 Cuban doctors in 62
countries and by the CTC to try to organise a speaking tour of
Britain in late 2004 on the subject of ‘Cuba in the World’. This
would also promote Cuba’s medical co-operation programme. We were
asked to seek the involvement of the CSC and TUC in this project.
However, it is proving very difficult to organise it on this basis.
1.6 We made a donation towards a Cymru Cuba
container being despatched from Cardiff to Santiago de Cuba en route
to Guantanamo. It contained among other items, tyres and spare parts
for the four ambulances we sent to that province.
1.7 We were particularly pleased that the TUC at
its congress in 2003, passed Motion 83, proposed by the
Community and Youth Workers Union, supporting Cuba and calling on
affiliates to support the work of CSC and Salud International.
1.8 We have commenced negotiations with the
London Ambulance Service for the purchase of nearly 300
defibrillators and associated items for the Cuban health service and
for those Cuban Medical Brigades in other countries that have access
to electricity. This will form part of our work for 2004/5.
1.9 Our partners in Cuba are the CTC,
Through funding from a donor who chooses to
remain anonymous, we have been able to further develop the project
for displaced flood victims at Chupanga and elderly and disabled war
‘orphans’ at Nhangau started last year. We have extended the
land ploughed and sown in Chupanga by grouping families together on
around 25 hectares of land per grouping, on a collective basis
sharing the tractor and ploughs we have provided and allocating
common shared crops as well as crops for personal consumption. This
collective scheme is based on a North Korean model. We have provided
a maize mill to enable the maize to be effectively marketed. We have
provided funds for seeds, a fishing team (Zambesi), boats, housing
for the elderly, a market place and because of this we have
attracted Mozambican government investment in a new school, clinic
and sewing/clothing project.
2.1 In Nhangau, north of Beira, half of the
derelict prison buildings providing accommodation to elderly and
disabled war ‘orphans’ have been modernised and furnished. A
fishing crew and boat have been provided and basic farming
2.2 Support has been given to the Blind
School in Beira. We are currently considering a range of
projects for the blind in Beira.
2.3 We have transferred $10,000 for the
prosthetics project for land mine victims from the provinces of
Sofala, Manica, Tete, Zambezia and Nampula following the
unjustified withdrawal of funding by USAID. It is estimated that
by using public transport for victims to arrive at the centre in
Beira, we can help 200 victims each year at this level of
funding. A site visit was made in November.
2.4 Our partners in Mozambique are FRELIMO
and the Sofala Provincial Directorate for Women and Social
3. South Africa
A site visit was made to Kuruman, the centre of what
was the asbestos mining area on the edge of the Kalahari Desert with a
view to developing a community project to help the local families cope
with the massive asbestos contamination. Our partners Thompson’s
Solicitors have achieved a substantial legal settlement on behalf of the
miners, families and other victims of asbestos related diseases. We are
looking at funding a community worker based in the claims office of the
local law firm handling individual claims on the settlement fund.
3.1 We are also considering a project for
community bakeries to enable poor families in remote areas of South
Africa obtain access to food not controlled by the multinational
food companies. Specifically we are looking at funding the
development of a business plan for this venture in the first
Annual Report 2004/2005
The period covered by this
report saw the Trust exploring the request from the Cuban Health Workers
Union (SNTS) to support the work of the Cuban Medical Brigades in Latin
America and Africa, following our visit to Haiti in December 2004. We
look at the possibility of a campaign entitled ‘Imagine’ which would
give high profile exposure to the work of the Brigades. However, after a
further visit to the Cuban Medical Brigade in Honduras, and further
discussions with SNTS, we settled on ‘adopting’ the brigades in
Haiti and Honduras as part of a triangular arrangement with Cuba and the
host country, producing a photographic exhibition explaining the story
of the brigades, a publication of either a book or pamphlet and sending
priority aid to the brigades. Much work has been done on the production
of the exhibition which will be piloted at a trade union conference in
We have now sent the funding to
the brigade in Honduras to buy a new engine for their boat on the Patuca
River in Mosquitia. This is the only means of transport for the Cuban
doctors in this remote part of Honduras, where they are serving some of
the various ethnic groups such as the Tawahki people. The boat has been
out of action for some time making it impossible to continue the work of
the brigade in this area. We are also looking at how we may support a
bakery project for the Tawahki people and provide solar panels and
computers for the Cuban doctors in other remote locations.
We are in discussion with
London Ambulance Service about the purchase of around 300 defibrillators
which could be used in Eastern Cuba to overcome the continuing problems
of patient transport. The idea is that these could be based in a ‘consultario’
or GP practice so they are near to the people who may need them. SNTS
has also asked us to look at the possibility of providing electronic
Nebulisors for asthmatics in the mountainous parts of Eastern Cuba to
avoid the need for breathless patients from descending from the
mountains to obtain relief.
We have continued to assist
Rochdale UNISON branch in its health project with Pakistan by donating
In August 2004, we facilitated
the purchase of new computer and printing equipment for SNTS in Santiago
de Cuba with the co-operation of Friends of Santiago de Cuba based in
the North East of England.