Cuban cochlear implant program benefits over 500 patients

The Cuban cochlear implant program has benefited more than 500 patients since its creation on December 4, 1997, at the initiative of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.

This project benefits hearing impaired children, especially deaf-blind, and allows them a better quality of life through improved communication and language skills.

The protocol for this treatment includes a candidate selection stage, implant placement and device rehabilitation and support, an expert pointed out during a conference.

The high-tech procedure, the specialist added, requires a rehabilitation process to adapt the devices for the perception of sounds, taking into account the characteristics of each patient, which allows school insertion.

Out of the implanted patients, 37 correspond to the group of deafblind patients, who are characterized by a loss of auditory and visual functions.

The cochlear implant consists of the insertion of a device that transforms sounds into electrical signals, which are processed and perceived by patients through this technique.

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Cuba with several achievements in the fight against AIDS

Cuba today celebrates the World Day for the Fight against HIV/AIDS with several results, among them that WHO ratified the certification for eliminating the transmission of this disease from mother to child and congenital syphilis .

The expert committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) in charge of validation highlighted as an impressive achievement in public health that the island maintained that condition uninterruptedly since it was granted in 2015.

As explained on the social networks by Cuban Minister of Public Health (Minsap), José Angel Portal, the international health organization highlighted Cuba's solid experience and commitment to the elimination of mother-to-child transmission.

Other Cuban achievements are being the nation of Latin America with the lowest HIV / AIDS prevalence, maintaining transmission control in children under 14, heterosexual men and women and early detection of the disease, Bárbara Venegas, Official of the Department of STI / AIDS and Hepatitis of the Epidemiology Department of Minsap, told reporters.

With respect to the goal 90-90-90 set by Cuba for the year 2020 (that 90 percent of the patients know their serological status, that same figure has access to treatments, as well as eliminating almost 100 percent of the transmission, with a minimal viral load) stressed that 87-86-73.8 has been reached, respectively.

Currently, cases can be diagnosed in any part of the national territory, which allows the optimization of resources and faster and more effective medical care.

Venegas reported that of the total 26 thousand 952 people living with HIV in the country, 80 percent are male and 82 are between 20 and 54 years old, while 87 percent were diagnosed in a stadium early disease, which allowed us to offer timely treatment.

The specialist said in Cuba the most affected are transsexual women (19.7 percent), men who have sex with other men (5.6 percent) and those who exercise transnational sex (2.8percent).

Among the activities that will be carried out in Havana, national headquarters for the event, there is a mobilization in social networks for the prevention of STI-HIV/AIDS and a cultural gala in the Avellaneda hall of the National Theater, on which occasion they will deliver the Esperanza Awards, recognition of the promoters' work in health prevention.

The first time World AIDS Day was celebrated was in 1988 and since that date, the virus has killed more than 32 million people worldwide, representing one of the most destructive epidemics in world history.

WHO data indicates that the growing access to prevention, diagnosis, treatment and effective care has allowed HIV infection to be a chronic health problem with the possibility of a long and otherwise healthy life.

This year, the international day, sponsored by WHO, has the motto 'Communities make a difference' to highlight how the promotional and preventive work carried out in these places helps prevent the spread of this pandemic.

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Talks between Health Ministers of DPRK and Cuba Held

Talks between Minister of Public Health O Chun Bok, who is on a visit to Cuba as the head of a DPRK public health delegation, and Cuban Minister of Health Jose Angel Portal Miranda were held on Nov. 26.

At the talks both sides discussed the issues of further boosting exchange and cooperation between the two countries in the field of public health.

Present there from the DPRK side were members of the delegation and the DPRK ambassador to Cuba and from the Cuban side a vice-minister of Health and other officials concerned.

Inked at the end of the talks was a memorandum of understanding between the DPRK Ministry of Public Health and the Cuban Ministry of Health in the field of health and medicine.

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Cuba hosts World Organ, Tissue and Transplant Donation Day meeting


Representatives of almost 40 countries and from the Pan American and World Health Organizations (PAHO/WHO) gathered in Havana for the Ibero-American Network/Council of Donation and Transplantation (RCIDT) meeting, and will also celebrate today the World Day for Donation of Organs, Tissue and Transplantation.

Dr. Antonio Enamorado, national coordinator of the Transplant Program of the Cuban Ministry of Public Health, told ACN that this event took place from Nov 18-20 at the International Health Center Las Praderas and pointed out that Cuba is founder of this organization since 1992.

Since 2005, every October 14, is commemorated the World Day for Donation of Organs, Tissues and Transplantions, date established by WHO, with the purpose of encouraging people to be donors and thus save the lives of people less lucky in terms of physical health.

Cuba has a donation rate between 13 and 14 per million inhabitants, making it one of the first countries in Latin America, the expert said.

Since 1972, solid organ transplants began in the Caribbean nation with kidney transplantation, a program that has never stopped, and in the mid-1980s the first heart transplant was carried out, as well as liver, bone marrow and cornea transplants, among others, Enamorado added.

These medical practices have been affected by the US blockade, both in the supplies to carry them out, as well as the technology to obtain a better quality, however Cuba makes great efforts to guarantee for life the high quality immunosuppressors to all patients and to which it allocates millions of dollars.

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Ecuador ends agreement to receive Cuban doctors

Ecuador's Interior Minister said Cuban doctors will be replaced by national specialists.

The Ecuadorean government announced Tuesday its decision to put an end to a bilateral cooperation agreement on health between the South American country and Cuba, which enabled the island's doctors to work in Ecuador.

The announcement was made by Ecuadorean Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo who said the move means "there will be no renewal of agreements or new agreements between Ecuador’s and Cuba’s health ministries."

According to Romo, Cuban doctors will be replaced by Ecuadorean specialists who will be called to apply from tomorrow to fulfill the nearly 400 places that will be free.

Romo also said these agreements are the last ones of this kind to be in force until the end of this year, however she added, the government is hoping to terminate them before that time. "When we started the government, there were many more [doctors] but the agreements were progressively replaced by direct hiring positions,” the official added.

Former Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa had stated at the time of the deals with Cuba that “Ecuador did not lack talent but required more doctors and specialists.”

Cuban doctors had come to Ecuador with extensive experience to take care of patients in public services all over the Andean country. They helped to strengthen the education system of medicine and allowed to better serve the population, especially lower-income citizens.

The agreement between Ecuador and Cuba was part of the Cuban medical missions which are a cornerstone of the island’s international cooperation programs for the world.

In a similar fashion, the departure of Cuban doctors from Brazil earlier this year saw severe consequences for that country’s most vulnerable population as the government of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro struggled to fill up the vacuum left by the physicians; El Salvador is another country that halted the medical programs with Cuba.

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Cuban health system shows the way, British Medical Journal says

CUBA has been praised for its advances in child health, which a paper published this week in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) attributes partly to the socialist island’s empowerment of women along with other socioeconomic measures.

The article highlighting the success of the country’s healthcare system, titled Cuba’s success in child health: what can one learn? appears in the latest issue of the authoritative medical journal.

It points to World Health Organisation (WHO) figures showing a child mortality rate (U5M) of 5.5 per 1,000 lives, achieved despite an almost six-decade economic blockade.

This rate is lower than the United States, which has a child mortality rate of 6.5. Cuba has the second-lowest child mortality rate in the Americas, just behind Canada.

Free universal education means that the country has one of the world’s highest doctor-to-patient ratios and literacy stands at at 99.7 per cent, meaning that public-health campaigns are able to reach the entire population.

Primary healthcare is one of the major successes of the island’s health system with almost half of Cuban doctors working in such health facilities, according to the article’s authors, Cuban paediatrician Mauro Castello Gonzalez and Imti Choonara, emeritus professor at the University of Nottingham’s school of medicine. This brings healthcare to traditionally hard-to-reach rural communities, with each team responsible for about 300 families.

Cuba has also achieved a significant reduction in babies with a low birth weight (LBW). Just 5.5 per cent of babies are born with a weight of less than 2.5kg (5lb 8oz) compared with 8.3 per cent in the US, according to 2017 statistics.

The article notes that the “empowerment of women in civil society has been a major achievement in Cuba” and contributes to children’s health.

“First, all girls attend school. Women have the same rights as men in Cuban law and receive equal pay. Maternity leave is 12 months and the woman’s job is protected by law.

“The majority of professionals in Cuba are women. Additionally, the majority of members of parliament in Cuba are women, with Cuba having the second-highest proportion of women in parliament worldwide. This representation in parliament is a reflection of the importance of gender equality in Cuba.”

Severe malnutrition in children was declared absent in Cuba by Unicef over a decade ago and malnutrition is not considered a major problem there despite the blockade.

The main lesson is what can be achieved by governments when healthcare is recognised as a priority, even with limited resources. Advances in children’s health can be achieved if there is the political will, the authors say.

“Cuba is an example of what is possible,” they conclude.

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Minimum access and biliopancreatic afflictions at GastroCuba 2019

The endoscopic treatment of biliopancreatic afflictions are on the table on Tuesday at the 7th International Congress, GastroCuba 2019, starting in Havana with the participation of specialists from about 10 countries.

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (CEPRE), as this technique is scientifically called, allows to treat problems in the bile ducts, tubes that carry bile from liver to gallbladder and small intestine, to treat stones, tumors or narrow areas of those ducts, Julian Ruiz, director of the National Minimum Access Center, said.

During the presentation of this techique with live cases, to which Prensa Latina had access, Ruiz explained that the procedure combines upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy and x-ray imaging.

This Cuban health institution, with more than 20-year experience in the country, has leading surgeons and doctors certified in the technique, who perform basic and advanced minimally invasive procedures.

Until October 25, specialists of this reference center in Cuba will show participants to the 7th International Congress of Gastroenterology other procedures to treat digestive diseases.

Specialists from Peru, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, the United States and Cuba will also attend this event, at the Conference Center in Havana.

Parallel to the event are the 6th Hepatology and Liver Transplant Symposium and the 6th National Meeting of Pediatric Gastroenterology.

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Cuban medical authorities say vaccine did not cause a baby's death

Cuban medical authorities assured the triple viral vaccine PRS did not cause the death of a baby nor affected another four babies, and the case is being studied in the island.

Doctor Roberto Alvarez, head of the Mother and Baby Department of the Ministry of Public Health, stated to digital website Cubadebate that 'as investigations have advanced, the event is not associated with the use of this vaccine because it has been applied on another 43 thousand 630 children in the island.

He said the problem has been focused on five children vaccinated in the polyclinic Betancourt Neninger of East Havana municipality, in the Havana province.

Nevertheless, he added that the investigating commission continues the inquiries.

He explained that from the moment they perceived the gravity of the first two babies, a ministerial commission was appointed to investigate the causes of the severe reaction to their immunization with PRS, a vaxccine that should protect them against mumps, rubeola and measles.

As of that moment, measures were taken to reinforce medical attention on the affected children and the increase of their surveillance by doctors and nurses, in the health area where the babies were vaccinated.

An alert was passed to the rest of the provinces to momentaneously retain the use of the lot with which the minors were vaccinated and the ministerial commission to investigate and clear the event.

The director general of the Center for State Control of Pharmaceuticals, Equipment and Medical Devices (Cecmed), Rafael Pérez, said the vaccine injected is imported from India and due to this medicine three serious illnesses have been eliminated in this country.

He stressed that national authorities have the responsibility to verify that the arrival of the vaccines to the country is correct, that it maintains its conditions and is safe to be used.

'And that is what Cecmed does before determining the approval of the lot', stressed the executive.

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