Cuban Public Health: A Guarantee of Happiness and Well-being

Featured Cuban Public Health: A Guarantee of Happiness and Well-being

Although is not a numeric indicator, this little girl’s expression shows a state of happiness, only achievable with a health service that responds to the People’s needs.

In year 2018, health indicators and services to the population were superior to those of the precedent year.

According to the Minister of Public Health (MINSAP), José Portal Ángel Miranda, by the end of the year is a positive balance in attaining the objectives, but we "also have much dissatisfaction, when it’s not always achieved in institutions that services correspond with the resources invested."

The National Health System faces at present the aging of the population, the decrease of fecundity and birth rate, the predominant epidemic panorama in the country, the financial limitations and costs rising, the technologies, the complex and expensive processes, the upgrade of organization and operation guidelines, the increase of international commitments and the blockade imposed to the country.

Many of these are programs prioritized by the institution and one of the most important is Family Medicine, created by the Commander in Chief Fidel Castro in 1984. Next January 4th this program will be reaching its 35th anniversary.

The Minister stressed the importance of the program to attain other goals, therefore the upgrading process carried out last year and that will continue strong through this 2019.

It includes it the improvement of facilities and, as a new element, the fact of incorporating one more year in the specialty of Integral General Medicine. "Today we have that possibility and that will improve the quality in the care."

It’s a need - he commented - to take that program to higher levels, because it’s not sustainable to guarantee the health of the people on the basis of health care institutions, which should be targeting more complex activities. "We have to continue strengthening primary health care with the doctors and nurses who work steady, make them believable, and resourceful", he emphasized.

Drugs Production, a Prioritized Program

Among the programs that MINSAP pushes forward is that of the Natural and Traditional Medicine, the Mother Children Program (falling within this one the issues related low child birth rate and fertility), the one against population aging and that of drugs production, among others.

High executives from of BioCubaFarma recently informed that at present this institution supplies the National Health Program a thousand 12 products (to do that it’s necessary to acquire more than 12 thousand materials), most of which are drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic equipments.

If we didn't have this industry in the country we’d to pay more than a thousand millions a year, approximately, to acquire these products, said BioCubaFarma president Eduardo Martínez Díaz.

This institution gives the health system 482 drugs which amounts for the 62% of basic medicines.

Martínez clarified that in the last years difficulties have arisen in the supply of several drugs by several causes, among which organizational problems, and the availability of raw materials and other things needed for this complex production.

The quality in services, the main challenge

Our health is for free, but it costs, it’s a message that MINSAP has sent over the last years, due to the importance for the population to be aware of the rational use of all resources.

Behind the production of medications and the most modern technologies purchased and set for the availability of the population, even in the most remote places, the State invests a great amount of money, and that is the scenario the country faces every year.

Although some think the blockade of the United States against Cuba is something intangible, last year alone in the health sector losses represented more than 98 million dollars and it accumulates over two thousand 711 million through these years, which are more visible when availability is short of certain resources, technologies, raw materials that most of the times must be purchased abroad.

Nevertheless, to guarantee a public health for the entire population is the State’s desire. In this regard at present the 51% of the country’s budget is dedicated to the sectors of Education and Public Health, from that more than 27% is dedicated to health and social welfare.

Looking at 2019, MINSAP has several challenges, among them to guarantee the stability of the epidemic situation; to diminish the mortality rate in children between 1-4 years old, as well as the mother mortality; to assure the execution of the export plan of services and incomes; to diminish the expenses to strictly what’s necessary, beginning with the implementation and execution of the program for efficiency.

Nevertheless, the most visible challenge for the population is the relationship with the quality in the medical services.

This is a topic – said the Minister in the TV show Round Table - that it needs the maximum attention, and he stood out that the greatest dissatisfactions are not in the medical care, but in the processes related to the services.

He said about the importance of keeping the ethics and the values in a sector where – perhaps like in any other - they are indispensable.

Doctor from Cuba Present in Brazil: Unforgettable

The closing of the participation of Cuba in the More Doctors Program for Brazil, in late 2018 has been an event that will remain in the history of both countries.

For Cuba because, once again, it allowed the country to demonstrate the elevated preparation, dignity and patriotism of our doctors. And for the South American Giant the presence of Cubans was valuable and unique, because they worked in many places where no doctor had ever tread before, like the Amazonia, for example, and they assisted the population left out and with less resources.

After it was known the MINSAP’s statement, in Brazil were stationed 8 471 collaborators, but they had already worked in that nation 20 thousand.

Cubans - 63% of that group that returned was young and 66% were women - they worked in two thousand 860 municipalities, in remote locations and conditions of extreme complexity, therefore the moving was really difficult.

Nevertheless, putting all difficulties aside, the return was successful, thanks to the combined participation of several Organizations from the Central Administration of the State, among them the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Transport, Foreign Commerce and Foreign investment as well as MINSAP.

After the return to Homeland the rewarding given has been “well deserved”, on behalf of the Government, the Party and the people in general, said Vice-minister Marcia Cobas who also highlighted the moral conditions and courage of that medical brigade.

When the declaration of the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) was known, 8,471 collaborators were working in Brazil, but almost 20,000 had already worked in that nation.

The Cubans -63% of that brigade that returned were young people and 66% women- served in 2,860 municipalities, in hard to reach places and conditions of extreme complexity, so the transfer process was awkward.

However, apart from all the difficulties, the return was successful, thanks to the joint participation of several agencies of the Central State Administration, including the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Transport, Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment and MINSAP itself.

Deputy Minister Marcia Cobas said that after the return to the Homeland, the recognition given by the Government, the Party and the people in general "has been well deserved", and highlighted the moral and courageous conditions of that medical brigade.

Cuba, Public Health: Some figures

- 13,000 institutions

- 94,000 doctors (8,2 per 1000 inhabitants)

- 19,000 stomatologists

- 85,000 nurses

- 57.4% of its workers are professionals and more than 92% are trained in the health sector.


    - 450 polyclinics

   - 10,869 doctor’s offices

    - 1,215 stomatological services

    - 150 hospitals

    - 131 maternity homes

    - 287 homes for grandparents


    - 150 nursing homes

    - 111 stomatological clinics

    - 30 psycho-pedagogical medical centers

     -12 research institutes

 For the training of human resources, it has:

-13 universities

-2 independent faculties

- Latin American School of Medicine

- National School of Public Health

-Teaching staff: More than 33,500 teachers

Cuban medical collaboration in the world

- 55 years of collaboration

- Our health workers have worked in 164 countries and completed more than 600,000 missions

- Around 400,000 health workers have participated, and many more than once

- Today, Cuba has a medical presence in 66 nations, with 34,000 workers (in 30 countries in Africa, 13 in the Americas, 11 in the Caribbean, 8 in Asia, 3 in Oceania and 1 in Europe)

Last modified onWednesday, 16 January 2019 06:33

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