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  SALUD INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL REPORTS

April 2002 - March 2003
April 2003 - March 2004
April 2004 - March 2005

ANNUAL REPORT FROM APRIL 2002 - TO MARCH 2003

1. Introduction

Salud 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.

1.1    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.

2.  Cuba

2.1    The 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 Oldham/Manchester.

2.2    Our 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.

2.3    Salud International provided funding for a brand new computer system for the CTC. This was purchased in Havana and is now in full operation.

2.4    Salud 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.

2.5    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 University.

2.6    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.

2.7    Two 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 government.

3. Youth Inclusion Project Oldham/Manchester

3.1    This 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.

3.2    We  had bought for us, by a donor, a mobile field hospital, for which we only had to pay VAT which may be refundable on export.

4. Mozambique

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.

4.2    $82,900 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 our behalf. 

Acknowledgements

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)

1.7.2003.

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Annual Report March 2003 - March 2004

In this year our work has been concentrated in three countries –

Cuba 

Mozambique and 

South Africa

1. Cuba

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 Bangladesh.

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,  SNTS and MINSAP.

2. Mozambique

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 developed.

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 Action

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 instance.

Phil Lenton

5/6/04                                                                                                                                                                              

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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 early 2005.

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 ambulances.

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.

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For further information about Salud International or to make a contribution please contact;

Salud International, P.O. Box 673, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE99 1EN

or Email:  info@salud.org.uk