Medical aid from a previous appeal being used for Cuba’s COVID-19 vaccination programme in 2021
Medical aid from a previous appeal being used for Cuba’s COVID-19 vaccination programme in 2021

What’s needed

Cuba Vive is fundraising to buy medicines, surgical supplies and medical equipment as requested by the Cuban health workers union (SNTS) and the Ministry of Health.

We aim to raise money to source and purchase these resources in the UK for Cuban hospitals and polyclinics and to pay for shipping containers to be sent to Cuba. We are also interested in hearing from people who may have access to large quantities of medical supplies, or contacts with suppliers who may be able to help us access the equipment needed.

The cost of the blockade on Cuban health

From March 2022 to February 2023, the blockade cost the Cuban health sector more than $240 million. Since the blockade began in 1962, cumulative damages amount to more than $3.6 billion.

International suppliers regularly cancel contracts for supplies to the Cuban pharmaceutical industry. In 2022, 67 US pharmaceutical firms refused or did not respond to MediCuba’s requests for medicines for cancer and stroke patients in Cuba.

Impact on children

“I have met mothers and fathers who see their children die from cancers that would be and could be treatable if it were not for the fact that Cuba cannot buy chemotherapy drugs from American companies,”

Bob Schwartz, Global Health Partners, USA

Catheters for newborn babies are produced by US companies which won’t sell to Cuba. To save lives, Cuban doctors are forced to adapt larger catheters for infants with renal failure who need dialysis.

Roughly 450 new cases of childhood cancer are diagnosed each year. Many children go without the appropriate drugs to treat their illness due to the blockade.

There are currently 20,000 Cuban families waiting for diagnoses of genetic diseases to whom it has not been possible to provide adequate care, as the technology needed to treat them contains over ten per cent of US components and therefore can’t be sold to Cuba.

The blockade and COVID

For over a year, these sanctions have represented a real obstacle to the procurement of mechanical ventilators, face masks, diagnostic kits, reagents, vaccination syringes, and other necessary materials to address COVID-19.”

Oxfam Report, June 2021

When Cuba’s only oxygen plant broke down during the pandemic, the US blockade hindered the purchase of medical oxygen. A contract for ventilators for Cuban intensive care services was abruptly cancelled. A donation of medical aid including PPE, COVID testing kits, and ventilators could not be delivered to the island due to US sanctions. The country’s vaccination process was delayed as raw materials for vaccine production was hindered.

How you can help

You can support Cuba Vive by donating to the appeal, organising fundraising events, and publicising the project in your workplace/trade union/community.

If you have contacts with medical suppliers who may be able to help, or organisations with large quantities of medicines or equipment which you would think may be suitable to donate, please contact us at office@cuba-solidarity.org.uk.


Cuba Vive was launched in January 2024 by UNISON North West, Northern, Northern Ireland, and Scotland regions, the Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC), Music Fund for Cuba charity, and Cuba’s health union (SNTS). It builds on previous successful appeals, such as Viva La Educación which raised £100,000 to ship educational aid to Cuba in September 2023 and CSC’s Covid Medical Appeal for Cuba which raised more than £150,000 for emergency medical supplies during the pandemic. For details of these or other fundraising initiatives and aid that has successfully been delivered to Cuba contact CSC on

If your union or organisation would like to sponsor the appeal please get in contact.