A community doctor visits a family to check their health conditions in Havana, Cuba, March 31, 2020.
A community doctor visits a family to check their health conditions in Havana, Cuba, March 31, 2020.
Xinhua/Zhu Wanjun

HAVANA -- Katia Aguilon, a young Cuban medical student, goes door-to-door in Havana's Vedado district to uncover cases of COVID-19 that may have gone undetected and risk spreading the disease.

"This is a very effective method, because some people don't go to see a doctor when they get sick," neighborhood resident Ana Iris Conesa said.

Aguilon, 21, and her classmates are accompanying Cuban healthcare workers on their rounds, and gaining valuable hands-on experience in the process.

"This is very important for my training as a general practitioner," said Aguilon, adding that "I am already making contact with my potential future patients."

During their visits, students are warmly greeted by the locals, who praise their work and thank them for helping to contain the outbreak.

"Early detection of people infected with COVID-19 or any other respiratory disease is fundamental to curbing the epidemic," said Aurolys Otano, director of a teaching hospital in Vedado.

Nearly 28,000 medical students in Havana have volunteered to join COVID-19 tracking teams. Using a face mask is compulsory and team members are barred from entering the homes to prevent from spreading the virus.

Minister of Public Health Jose Angel Portal noted the importance of the task, saying "medical students are working very hard and with a great sense of responsibility."

According to health authorities on the island, the tracking teams have reached some 8.8 million people across the country.

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