Roberto Morales Ojeda, vice-president of the Councils of State and Ministers, said that the country will end this year with the lowest infant mortality rate in history, which today is 3.9 per 1,000 live births.
In the Permanent Commission of Health and Sport Work, which precedes the II Ordinary Session of the IX Legislature of the National Assembly of the People's Power, underway in the Conventions Center of Havana, Morales Ojeda spoke of the challenges of the Ministry of Public Health (Minsap) in the face of the accelerated aging of the population, since currently 20.1 percent of the population is 60 years old or older.
In that standing commission, chaired by Doctor Cristina Luna, the Cuban Vice President also referred to the serious problem with the birth rate in the island, resistance to antimicrobials, and issues related to climate change and health, among other aspects.
Other challenges are the prevention of chronic diseases, including heart disease, the leading cause of death on the island, cerebrovascular disease and cancer, the latter, he suggested, deserves a very integrated view from the National Health System and the medical pharmaceutical industry.
According to the Minsap Statistical Yearbook, in 2017, 25,194 Cubans died from malignant tumors and among the first kinds in general are lung, prostate, colon, breast and other lymphatic tissue.
The Health and Sports Commission also discussed the promotion of health and prevention of non-communicable diseases on its first day of sessions.
Doctor Francisco Durán, a Minsap official, said that these ailments are responsible for almost two-thirds of deaths, and in the Americas, 80 percent of deaths and 77 percent of premature deaths (30-69 years), he said.
Among them were cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and respiratory diseases.
In Cuba, non-communicable diseases account for more than 80 percent of overall mortality and occupy 9 of the top 10 causes of death, which is why experts insist on prevention through healthy lifestyles.
Another topic discussed today was the program of care for infertile couples, in which Dr. Roberto Álvarez Fumero, head of the Maternal and Infant (Pami) program, explained that the country has 168 municipal consultations, 15 provincial services of assisted reproduction and four high-tech centers, and it is planned to acquire equipment that will modernize the technology in the latter, said Fumero.
In 2018 there are 102,234 couples receiving some kind of treatment and currently 80,250 are being monitored, and more than 2,000 pregnancies were achieved.
In this regard, José Ángel Portal Miranda, minister of Public Health, said that this program is extremely sensitive and although there are dissatisfactions, the Minsap works to give security to these people, and spoke as well on the importance of prevention to avoid infertility.
The Minister also emphasized the priority given by the sector to the development of science and research, which are essential functions.
Minsap currently has 1,702 research projects underway, both national and institutional, at the three levels of care, explained Ileana Morales, national director of Science, Technology and Innovation in Health.
Research priorities include mortality and morbidity from vascular and metabolic diseases and their risk factors, cancer, maternal and child health, birth and fertility, dementias and other ailments associated with aging, arbovirosis, and climate change and health, among others.