Homeopathy was officially adopted in Cuba in 1992, and it is now integrated across the whole island.
‘Homeopathy is the medicine for the people… and the main solution for developing countries… a low risk, low cost solution… and the only solution for difficult situations where no conventional medicine solutions are possible or available.’
An exclusive interview by Carol Boyce with Dr. Gustavo Bracho about the place of homeopathy in the Cuban health system, his work into methods of epidemic prevention at the prestigious Finlay Institute and the potential of homeopathy to address the challenge of epidemics in the developing world.
Dr. Gustavo Bracho kindly agreed to give us this exclusive interview at the first Homeopathy in the Developing World conference in The Netherlands in 2009, after presentation of his team’s work into prevention of the annual epidemic of Leptospirosis in Cuba.
With thanks to Tony Pinkus at Ainsworth’s Pharmacy 4.8.2009:
Tony Pinkus is Joint MD of Ainsworth’s Pharmacy with his partner and fellow director, Carole Gregory Pinkus, with whom he personally prepares the essences for Ainsworth’s Pharmacy Bach Flower Remedies.
Together they visited Cuba to give a presentation on Homeoprophylaxis for cattle and sheep and discovered the research for this article. Tony has been a homeopathic pharmacist at Ainsworth’s Pharmacy since 1983 and continues the time-honoured tradition of providing individual hand-prepared potencies as well as those prepared on a unique potentiser he designed for ultra-high potencies.
An unprecedented research study has been conducted in Cuba on the homeopathic prevention of Leptospirosis in 2.4 million people following the seasonal occurrence of this disease after tropical flooding caused by hurricanes.
An 80% reduction in the incidence of Leptospirosis was recorded in the three most affected eastern seaboard provinces by comparison with the incidence in their three less affected neighbouring provinces after two years use of the nosode. In the affected provinces only ten cases were reported instead of the typical several thousand cases of Leptospirosis.
On 10-12 December 2008 at the ‘Nosodes 2008’ conference in Havana (Cuba) the director-general of the Finlay Institute, an advocate of homeopathy herself, Dr. Concepcion Campa Huergo, opened the session and her director of research, Dr. Gustavo Bracho, gave a presentation about controlling the local epidemic disease of Leptospirosis by using a Leptospira nosode alongside conventional vaccination.
Leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by the spirochaete Leptospira transmitted to humans from rats, especially in flooded areas. In humans it may cause a wide range of symptoms including high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, jaundice, red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, or a rash. If untreated the patient could develop kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure, and respiratory distress.
Cuba succumbs to a yearly epidemic of Leptospirosis, especially after the hurricanes flood the countryside and water pollution reaches its height each autumn. Many people are left homeless, flooded out and suffering from stress following the seasonal hurricanes. In 2008 two of hurricanes hit Cuba within ten days of each other, the population having little time to recover from the first before the next struck land.
A part of the Ministry of Public Health, the Finlay Institute is the Cuban research institute. It has WHO qualified facilities, produces allopathic vaccinations and acts as supporting institution for research, production and development of high quality homeopathic products.
Since Cuba is still subject to a 50 year US embargo, the Cubans, impoverished as they are, have become self-sufficient in the production of medicines and health care programs. Since they had a vested interest to benefit the population they were able to conduct the Leptospirosis project on a massive scale unknown in the history of homeopathy.
In October/November 2007, three provinces of the eastern region of Cuba were affected by strong rainfalls causing widespread flooding and infrastructure damage to sanitary, power and health systems. The risk of Leptospirosis infection reached extremely dangerous levels with about two million people exposed to potentially contaminated water.
The Finlay Institute has been manufacturing a multivalent Leptospirosis vaccine since 1998 but is hampered by the inability to successfully produce sufficient doses to protect all the population at risk. It takes the best part of a year to produce and distribute two million doses of vaccine, sufficient for only 773,000 at-risk patients in the most affected eastern provinces. The Finlay Institute was thus continually hitting a brick wall in its aim to offer protection to the remaining population in the flooded areas.
Dr. Concepcion Campa Huergo decided on the pragmatic approach of providing the rest of the at-risk population with a homeopathic version of Finlay Institute’s own vaccine. In addition, she provided a Bach Flower remedy for stress. (The original Bach Flower combination put in the first year, 2007, was equivalent to Rescue Remedy. The 2008 combination was slightly enhanced and was similar to Ainsworth’s Pharmacy‘s Emergency Spray formula I believe).
The Finlay Institute therefore prepared a Leptospira nosode 200c using the four circulating strains and following international quality standards. A multidisciplinary team travelled to the affected regions to conduct the massive administration of the nosode.
Coordinated action with public health system infrastructures allowed the administration of a preventive treatment consisting of two doses of the nosode (7-9 days apart) to about 2.4 million people (4.8 million doses). The coverage of the intervention rose up to 95% percent of total population of the three provinces at risk. Another dose, at a higher potency (10M), was given after the hurricane Ike hit the island in 2008; again with the accompanying Bach Flower combination for stress.
The epidemiology surveillance after the intervention showed a dramatic decrease of morbidity two weeks after, and a reduction to zero mortality of hospitalised patients. The number of confirmed Leptospirosis cases remained at low levels and below the expected levels in accordance with the trends and rain regimens that had been calculated and predicted by the Finlay Institute for a decade. The usual expectancy of infection, even with allopathic vaccination, would have been around a few thousand, with some deaths included.
The cost of the Leptospirosis project was US$200,000, whereas the costs of ‘normal’ vaccination, only for the most at-risk populations – i.e. children, pregnant women, and the elderly – is about US$3,000,000.
What is remarkable is their ability to deliver this solution so effectively and successfully, and conduct research on such a large population, with credible scientific verification. Now we have a really exciting situation. Five million doses of the nosode were manufactured within one week at a fraction of the cost of making the vaccine.
Because it can be made more quickly and cheaply (as the Finlay Institute discovered), does not require a fridge (unlike the vaccine), can be given without a nurse or doctor to a large number of people quickly and efficiently, including to patients under 15yrs (unlike the vaccine) it represents a huge boon to third world countries seeking an alternative to expensive drug treatment and prophylaxis of a wide range of diseases. Moreover, the adaptation to variant strains that normally limit the efficacy of a vaccine are easily overcome with a homeopathic nosode.
Under the influence of Dr. Concepcion Campa Huergo, the Cubans have demonstrated both the efficacy and the economic expediency of homeopathy in the prevention of an epidemic. This experience could be extended to other diseases and other countries.
The Finlay Institute is offering their facilities and specialists to spread this alternative to all regions needing emergent alternatives for epidemic control and prevention.