Havana, Cuba (CNN) -- Fidel Castro announced Saturday that Cuba will send another 300 doctors and health specialists to cholera-stricken Haiti, where the Communist country has maintained a strong presence even before the devastating earthquake in January.
The new delegation will bring the number of Cuban doctors, nurses and health technicians working in Haiti to 1,300.
"It is of extreme importance to prevent the epidemic from extending to other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, because under current circumstances it would cause extraordinary damage to the countries of the hemisphere," Castro said in a message posted on the state-run website Cubadebate.
"The need to find efficient and fast solutions in the fight against the epidemic is upon us," he said.
The additional 300 specialists comprise the "Henry Reeve Brigade," created by Cuba to respond to natural disasters.
Castro said the decision to send them was taken by the Communist Party and the government.