Brave anonymous heroes

EDUMECENTRO 2022;14:e1699


Brave anonymous heroes

Héroes anónimos con rostros de valientes


Laura Adalys Guillen León1*
Carlos Miguel Campos Sánchez1
Jani Rojas Machado1
Orlando David García Aguila1


1 Villa Clara University of Medical Sciences. School of Medicine. Villa Clara. Cuba.


* Author for correspondence. Email:




After the declaration of the World Health Organization on the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple tributes have been paid to health workers and other people who have worked in the red zones around the world. At Villa Clara University of Medical Sciences, as an initiative of a group of students, it was decided to make the documentary series "brave faces." Through pedagogical language, the interviewees refer to the essential of strictly complying with the protection measures aimed at achieving control of the disease. This project has served to transmit to the students, in a testimony told by their own protagonists, and from a more human and personal point of view, the sacrifice that the exercise of the health professions entails in extreme situations, both in Cuba and in the rest of the planet.

MeSH: coronavirus infections; information technologies and communication projects; education, medical.


Tras la declaración de la Organización Mundial de la Salud sobre la pandemia por la COVID-19, se han realizado múltiples homenajes a los sanitarios y otras personas que han laborado en las zonas rojas en el mundo. En la Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Villa Clara, como iniciativa de un grupo de estudiantes, se decidió realizar la serie documental "Rostros de valientes". A través de un lenguaje pedagógico los entrevistados refieren lo indispensable de cumplir estrictamente las medidas de protección orientadas para lograr el control de la enfermedad. Este proyecto ha servido para transmitir a los estudiantes, en un testimonio contado por sus propios protagonistas, y desde un punto de vista más humano y personal, el sacrificio que conlleva el ejercicio de las profesiones de la salud en situaciones extremas, tanto en Cuba como en el resto del planeta.

DeSC: infecciones por coronavirus; proyectos de tecnologías de información y comunicación; educación médica.



Submitted: 29/10/2020
Acceppted: 06/09/2020



COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2, was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020. It is a severe acute respiratory syndrome identified for the first time in the city of Wuhan, capital of China's Hubei Province, in December 2019. Its clinical manifestations range from asymptomatic disease to severe condition with respiratory failure, multi-organ dysfunction, septic shock, and death.(1)

The appearance of epidemics is not something new in the history of humanity, but in recent years there have been several outbreaks, many of them caused by viruses, which is a trigger for social alarm. The reasons why they arise are related to the performance of humans and derive from the way of life: living in large cities, more trips for leisure or business, commercial exchanges, etc.(2)

This disease spread to Latin America, when Brazil, Mexico and Ecuador reported their first cases at the end of February 2020; in April there were 201,977 infected in this region. On March 11, the first three imported cases from Italy were notified in Cuba, in the municipality of Trinidad, Sancti Spíritus province.(3)

Given the appearance of the first autochthonous cases, Villa Clara University of Medical Sciences, created the "Serafín Ruiz de Zarate Ruiz" brigades made up of students from all degrees, with the aim of providing training on compliance with health measures, at the "Marta Abreu" Central University of Villas, with educational actions that favored the preparation of a large number of people.

Cuba supported the confrontation with COVID-19 in various parts of the world: Italy, Azerbaijan, Angola, Venezuela, etc. putting into practice the principle of solidarity; while in the national territory an epidemiological control and surveillance system was put into operation that has made it possible to maintain, under the established protocols, a control of the disease, which has allowed to establish a period of new normality.

The rest of the students joined the active surveillance in the population; there they developed communication skills necessary for good professional performance in the doctor-patient relationship, increasing the sense of responsibility by having the important function of identifying early respiratory symptoms, a measure that has been one of the most effective in containing the epidemic, as it enables a better evolution of the disease and significantly reduces its spread.

This environment full of stories to tell, aroused the interest of the Communication Group of the University Students Federation (USF), of Villa Clara University of Medical Sciences, which were linked to active investigations in the Santa Clara population.

In this way, the series "Faces of Brave people" began with the aim of recognizing professionals, technicians and students who participated in the confrontation with the pandemic. The task was developed starting from the elaboration of an exhaustive interview guide; with the use of recording media, the testimonies were taken, ranging from the most heartbreaking anecdotes, to the influence of the support of its family or social recognition.

The interview is submitted to an editing process, in video or image format, by the communication group itself, and once it is ready, the final product is published on the official (USF) page on Facebook; Hundreds of students are added who have reacted and commented, moved, the experiences of their teachers who have trained them for several years.

Among the most heartfelt phrases of the series' honorees are:

"I would do it again without thinking"

"No fear I will do it again, a thousand times if necessary"

"For me, as a doctor, taking care of the health of the people is a duty"

"It has been the best experience of my life"

"It is very comforting to see the fruit of our work"

"Whenever the country needs it, whenever the people need it, the Cuban doctor will be there, in the battlefront"

"It has contributed a lot to my professional life, working with people with so much experience who are my example, my eternal professors"

Through tears and sighs, many times the experiences of these teaching professionals were known, who even though they had not been practicing the profession for years, took their step forward without hesitation; they assure that although they have dedicated their profession to medical teaching, they are Cuban doctors, trained by a health system that carries humility in one hand and solidarity in another, a system that has allowed the training of capable professionals of an unmatched human quality.

Through pedagogical language and using adequate communication techniques, the interviewees convey how essential it is to achieve control of the disease through strict compliance with the measures dictated by the authorities, and emphasize that especially young people Assume, it is the group that the students of medical sciences belong to.

This project has served to transmit to the students, from a more human and personal point of view, told by their own protagonists, the sacrifice that the exercise of the health professions entails in extreme situations, both in Cuba and in the rest of the world, with examples of humanity and total and selfless dedication to the care of patients.

In the case of the interviews carried out with students, it has been possible to verify, through their testimonies, how carrying out the epidemiological surveillance gave them the possibility of developing the communication skills that every future doctor must master, at the same time that their responsibility has increased by having to identify early respiratory symptoms in the population, an effective measure to stop the epidemic.

The project has been a proof that you must always count on young people and trust them since they continued their training program from the teaching point of view while working alongside specialists, in direct contact with positive patients.

The authors consider that the educational impact of the interviews is intangible: on the one hand, they show the example and self-denial of prestigious doctors, showing themselves before their students as comprehensive beings, capable of fulfilling their care functions, even in the face of a worldwide epidemic in the care for the sick, and together with it, teach, educate and train the new soldiers of the army in white coats; and on the other hand, including interviews with students, both those who carried out epidemiological surveillance and those who worked in the red zone, has served as proof of the knowledge acquired by all and of the comprehensiveness of medical education in Cuba where theory and practice go hand in hand with an arsenal of values.

Another purpose has been to convey to the teachers the gratitude and sincere recognition of the students, and to safeguard the archive, which with the course of time will acquire historical importance as a testimony of this time in Cuban public health, inside and outside the country; It is the authors' consideration that similar projects should arise from other parts of the Cuban and international geography, since health personnel have fought COVID-19, putting their lives at risk, working tirelessly; And although there are not enough recognitions for them, at least their stories are saved from indifference and oblivion, to be remembered and honored for what they are: anonymous heroes with the faces of brave people.



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2. Collado Falcón JC, Suárez Rodríguez C, Díaz Dehesa MB. Características, diagnóstico y tratamiento de la COVID-19. Rev Cubana de Medicina General Integral [Internet]. 2021 [citado 12/05/2021];37(supl. 1.): [aprox. 18 p.]. Disponible en:

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Declaration of interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest



Authors' contribution

Laura Adalys Guillen León and Carlos Miguel Campos Sánchez: carried out the conceptualization and review of the bibliography
Laura Adalys Guillen León, Carlos Miguel Campos Sánchez, Jani Rojas Machado and Orlando David García Aguila: wrote the final draft and reviewed it.



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