Vietnam-Cuba Friendship Dong Hoi Hospital – a ‘gem’ of friendship hinh anh 1Salvador Valdes Mesa (front, second, left), First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, visits the Vietnam-Cuba Friendship Dong Hoi Hospital on September 14 (Photo: VNA)

Quang Binh (VNA) – The Vietnam-Cuba Friendship Dong Hoi Hospital in central Quang Binh province, one of the various facilities that Cuban leader Fidel Castro committed to help Vietnam during his historical trip to the liberated area in South Vietnam in September 1973, is regarded as a ‘gem’ of the friendship between the two countries.

At the height of the anti-US resistance war, Fidel became the first foreign leader to set foot on one of the fiercest battlefields at that time: Quang Binh province and the newly-liberated area in Quang Tri.

He was very touched when witnessing the hardship and dramatic losses that the Vietnamese people were suffering. So he decided to help Vietnam build a modern hospital in Dong Hoi, Quang Binh province, to serve local people and soldiers returning from southern battle fields.

Eight months after Fidel’s historic trip, the construction of the Vietnam – Cuba Friendship Dong Hoi Hospital began with the participation of more than 100 experts and workers, together with machines, equipment and food transported all the way from Cuba.

After seven years of construction, the hospital was inaugurated on September 9, 1981. With 462 beds, 19 departments and very modern equipment for the time, the hospital has served as a spearhead in the provincial health care system ever since.

The hospital has to date evolved into a general hospital at the top class with over 900 beds, 39 departments, eight functional rooms and over 700 staff including 190 physicians.

In 2016, a high-tech building was put into operation, offering 180 beds and a system of advanced medical equipment. It has helped solve the overcrowding, brought alternative options for treatment and reduced the financial burdens for patients. Many other constructions have also been built or renovated to meet patients’ increasing demands.

[Grand meeting in Cuba marks Fidel’s historic trip to Vietnam]

Hospital Director Duong Thanh Binh said that throughout its development, the hospital staff has always nurtured the close-knit bond with the Cuban people and the Cuban health care sector.

The hospital has established cooperation with Cuba’s Generak Calisto Garia hospital and held regular exchange visits to Cuba. 

To express the hospital’s deep gratitude to the Cuban party, government and people, a statue of Fidel Castro was built inside the hospital in mid-August this year.

In April, a group of four Cuban physicians and experts came to work for the hospital.

Cardiologist Piter Martínez Benítez said: “I am happy to be invited to work here.

“We will try to share our knowledge and offer support in terms of expertise and techniques to improve the health care practice here. We want the people in Quang Binh and neighbouring provinces to enjoy better health care services.”

Director Binh said the development of the hospital is thanks to the great contributions of Cuba.

“In the coming years, the hospital will continue nurturing and further developing the bilateral relations, inviting Cuban experts to transfer advanced technology to the hospital, and sending the hospital’s staff to Cuba for professional training,” he said.-VNA