A few days ago, Selena Carrioso Salazar received her medical doctor degree in Las Tunas and, along with it, a special recognition for her performance during the confrontation with the COVID-19.
Las Tunas, Cuba.- Of the graduates in the provincial capital, she is the only one that studies the Microbiology specialty, granted to her at the beginning of the sixth year of the degree, through the vertical internship modality.
We only crossed a few words and although the facemask did not allow me to see her face well, her voice was sonorous, frank and in her eyes I foretold the commitment and the impetus of someone who begins in priesthood. I also guessed her smile when she finally had in her hands the long-awaited Parchment, the one she had dreamed of since her pre-university days in the "Luis Urquiza Jorge," when her inclination for the world of Biology and Chemistry made her bet on a life inextricably linked to science.
Selena is one of the many young people who enter the Medicine career with the aspiration of saving lives, and from the second year of the University fell in love with Microbiology. Since the internship began, the laboratories of the Provincial Center of Hygiene and Epidemiology became her classroom and in recent months the challenge was enormous, as she directly participated in the processing of samples for real-time PCR studies, in search for SARS-CoV-2 positive cases.
She did not imagine that she would face so soon an epidemic that would test much more than her knowledge, because nobody had a manual to challenge it, much less the perfect recipe to combat it. "Being there, on that front line," she tells me, "you always feel afraid. If you say you didn't feel it, it would be lying, but I felt useful and I knew that I really helped my country.”
“In the current situation that the world is going through, the importance of this specialty has been seen. Those of us currently working at the Center had to take, receive and process samples; make quick tests, visit the sick people and carry out the epidemiological control of all the patients.”
She comments that “in one of my guards we processed a sample that would later turn out to be positive, from the municipality of Puerto Padre. We always knew the risk we were taking, but we knew it was our responsibility. The entire team was always well protected and the premises had the conditions to carry out the work.”
A country that does everything to save lives can take pride in its children. Selena is already, without a doubt, deserving of that pride and although she knows that many learning await her, she wants to contribute to preserving the life of everyone who needs her efforts.
This story is one of many that accompany the pandemic. When we remember these days in the future, we will realize that there are people who have done great things, because Medicine is more than science, it is humanism. When asked what she takes from the University, she answered resolutely: "Knowledge and the drive to succeed in our profession."