Answer

No. The Henry Reeve Brigade is only one part of the Cuban medical system, and focuses on disaster and emergency situations. It is part of a much larger program coordinated by the Cuban Ministry of Public Health, which has sent more healthcare workers overseas than the entire World Health Organization.

For Cuba, medical assistance has been a hallmark of the revolution: helping Chilean earthquake victims in 1963; Nicaraguans and Hondurans devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998; Indonesia tsunami victims in 2004. They even offered to send help to the U.S. after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but the Bush administration refused on ideological grounds. 

Gradually these healthcare workers not only responded to emergencies overseas but began serving as family doctors in communities around the world that lack adequate healthcare. Poorer countries pay only the medical teams’ expenses or seek international support to compensate Cuba; wealthier countries pay more.

Between 1960 and 2018, over 325,000 Cuban medical personnel have worked in 158 countries. They have attended 2.6 million births, conducted 9.1 million surgeries, administered 12.8 million vaccinations, and trained over 50,0000 international medical students from rural and poor regions.