Julio never turns a patient away. (Natalia Favre pic)

FMT in partnership with The Global Institute For Tomorrow (GIFT) brings you a Covid-19 “healer” from Cuba.

Julio runs a natural medicine clinic in an Old Havana neighbourhood. Medical shortages were worsened by the double hit of the Covid-19 pandemic and the US embargo, thus the role for Julio and his vast knowledge about plants was crucial.

Julio’s knowledge dates back to his great-great-grandmother, who arrived in Cuba on a slave ship from the Congo. His clinic is now the reference point for many looking for medicine.

The combination of family tradition and a decade of education have made Julio a popular healer in the community. He never stopped working, even during the pandemic’s worst moments.

A line of patients greets him as he arrives at work each day, waiting to be treated for all kinds of ailments, physical and spiritual. He asks patients to socially distance and to be patient, repeating “stress is the number one cause of death.”

He takes his time to count each leaf of the remedy, explaining in detail the plant’s properties and how best to prepare it.

Julio still helps those without money to pay, murmuring “God will pay me with health.” Already loved in the neighbourhood, he has gained greater respect from the community during the pandemic.

Julio’s quaint but fully-operational clinic in Old Havana, Cuba. (Natalia Favre pic)
Julio’s skill in herbal medicine is the product of tradition and a decade of education. (Natalia Favre pic)

Natalia Favre was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1987. She has been living in Havana, Cuba, since 2017. She graduated in Design at the University of Buenos Aires, working extensively as costume designer. She earned a Diploma in Photography as a social tool at the University of Philosophy of Buenos Aires, and held workshops with different groups of documentary photography including for children (La Comuna). She directed and produced two short films: Sem folhas nao tem Orixas (2016) and Coffee and Tobacco (2017). She is interested in the various sociocultural manifestations of daily life in which the concepts of identity, rituality and sacredness are intertwined. View her portfolio here.

‘The Other Hundred Healers’ is an initiative by the non-profit organisation GIFT. The 240-page, full-colour, hardcover book can be purchased here at US$40 per copy for a minimum order of 20 copies.