Cuba Celebrates Latin American Medicine Day

Cuba and other Latin American countries are celebrating on Monday the Latin American Medicine Day, in tribute to the birth of Cuban scientist Carlos J. Finlay (1833-1915), discoverer of the transmitting agent of yellow fever.

In his studies, Finlay showed in 1881 that between an infected and a healthy person, there was an independent agent that transmitted the disease, and he was capable of identifying the Aedes aegypti mosquito as the biological vector.

The epidemiologist had several setbacks to show his thesis, devalued at that time by the scientific community, especially the American one.

Some few years later, the 14th International Congress of the History of Medicine held in Rome in 1954 confirmed the Cuban scientist as the only discoverer of the transmitting agent of yellow fever and the application of his doctrine in the sanitation of the Tropic.

Proposed several times for the Nobel Prize in Medicine, although never granted, the celebration of the Latin American Medicine Day every December 3 is a recognition to Finlay's work.

On May 25, 1981, UNESCO instituted the Carlos J. Finlay International Prize for the first time to recognize progress in microbiology, and included Finlay in its magazine as one of the six most outstanding microbiologists in world history.

To commemorate the date, Cuba is carrying out activities to honor health workers and highlight the main health achievements this year.

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Cuba Contributes to Renewing Global Medicine, Said Neuro-Scientist

Cuban health system can make substantial contributions to new health trends worldwide, like precision medicine, said Professor Pedro Valdes, Deputy Director of the island''s Neuro Sciences Center.

Precision medicine represents a change of paradigm, as it is based on assessment, rules and algorithms to study the persons during all their lives and provide them with personalized care, the neuro-scientiest said at a presentation.

In his remarks, Valdes said that despite the trend gaining ground in the world, there's a big gap between rich and poor as in the developed nations it is exclusively benefiting high income people thus not turning into a major public health coverage.

However, Cuba is ideally located to serve as the intermediary between where the money is for research and those who need this kind of medicine, the doctor said.

Cuba has the experience of the family doctor and the prevention medicine approach centered on primary care, he explained, adding the island has been working for decades focused on precision medicine.

Therefore, the country has the experience to boost such medical trend and contribute to world public health, Valdes highlighted.

In his presentation, the doctor talked over Cuba's recent breakthroughs in international cooperation on connections of brain regions involved in cognitive and emotional functions and their repercussion in the diagnosis of degenerative, brain-vascular and psychiatric diseases.

He added the islands's main partners on this matter are China and Canada. The three nations are working to create a big data bases, which will contribute to boost precision medicine in a just manner.

Former FARC Members Arrive in Cuba for Medical Training

The peace process in Colombia also created a unique opportunity for students to learn more from the Cuban health system, which is praised worldwide.

Some 200 young Colombians — mostly former FARC members and campesinos — arrived in Cuba to begin their studies at the Latin American School of Medicine as part of the offer made by Cuba after the peace accord between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

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The Cuban government is set to grant 1,000 annual scholarships in the next five years for students from Colombia, which will include aspiring doctors that had to postpone their training due to the armed conflict of more than 50 years in their country.

The medical students arrived at Jose Martí International Airport where they were received by the dean of ELAM Antonio Lopez. Authorities say this is a contribution of the Cuban government to the implementation process of the peace deal which was negotiated and reached in Havana.

"The opportunity to be in Cuba is great because the health system model developed here is to serve the human being, always trying to prevent diseases and that seems fantastic," Duerney Perez, a young student told Prensa Latina.

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Student doctors will be trained in accordance with the Cuban family medicine model so that they may return to Colombia once they've graduated to improve and fortify primary health care for the underserved.

Between July 19 and Aug. 16, according to Colombia Informa, the student beneficiaries — residing in Transitional Standardization Zones or in the countryside — were chosen to begin medical study in September.

"I come from the department of Caqueta, very affected by the violence that the war created," Perez said.

  • Published in Cuba

Nine Countries Send Rescue Teams to Ecuador

Quito, Apr 18 (Prensa Latina) Experts from nine countries are supporting the Ecuadorian authorities in the search for survivors of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the coastal area of the country on Saturday, the Foreign Minister, Guillaume Long, stated today.

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