The President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, headed a recent work meeting where the current situation of the Cuban health system, one of the most important social programs developed by the Revolution, was analyzed in a general manner.
It is possible that sometimes the financial resources are insufficient to carry out certain actions, but what we cannot lack is to improve quality in services offered by our health institutions and make sure that medical equipment and facilities are not unnecessarily deteriorated, said the President, quoted by Granma newspaper today.
Jose Angel Portal Miranda, Minister of Public Health, reported on the work being done to improve care in clinics, polyclinics, hospitals and institutes, while consolidating greater scientific progress, which is also a guarantee of development.
It was explained that the infrastructure of the Cuban health system includes, among other institutions, more than 10,800 family doctors' offices, 450 polyclinics, 12 institutes, 29 blood banks, 150 nursing homes, 13 universities and 25 medical science faculties. More than 480,000 health workers are employed there, 71% of whom are women.
The ageing of the population, of which 20.1% are now 60 years old or over, together with the decline in fertility and the birth rate, is one of the main challenges for our health system. Faced with this reality, a series of measures have been adopted aimed at increasing old people's homes, geriatric services, grandparents' circles and homes, care for infertile couples, among other actions associated with the country's demographic scenario.
Other challenges include the increase in chronic non-communicable diseases, climate change and the need for research and technological innovations to respond to the main health problems.
Regarding the most significant results as a result of the transformations developed in the health system, Portal Miranda assured that from 2010 to 2018 the staff was adapted to the needs of the services, which allowed a more efficient use of human resources.
The number of medical specialties offered in the polyclinics was also increased in order to achieve greater resolution and quality of the services provided at this level of care.
Similarly, in 2017, there were more primary care consultations and surgeries than in the previous year; in the latter, more than one million interventions have been performed for the sixth consecutive year.
The infant mortality rate of 3.8 per 1,000 live births has allowed this figure to remain below five for ten years. It was also highlighted that from 2015 Cuba became the first country in the world to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and congenital syphilis.
Medical teaching was recognized as another strength, both in undergraduate and postgraduate courses, which allows a sustained development of professionals with an increasingly higher training.
In addition, emphasis was placed on science, innovation and quality; clinical trials; increased local production of phytopharmaceuticals and apipharmaceuticals; the incorporation of medical technologies; results in the economy and services; medical cooperation abroad; the export of services and the computerization of the national health system.
As work priorities for this year, the Minister of Public Health defined the need to consolidate the transformations that allow progress in the rescue of the foundational concepts of the Doctor and Nurse Family Program, as well as in the solution of the problems that still affect the quality of services provided in health institutions.
He also commented, among others, on the strengthening of hygiene, epidemiology and microbiology; perfecting undergraduate and graduate educational work; the development of science; improving the quality of pharmaceutical services; continuing to increase international medical collaboration and guaranteeing the efficiency and rational use of resources in the sector.
Regarding the family doctor and nurse program, the vice-president of the Councils of State and Ministers, Roberto Morales Ojeda, valued that it is key to relieve hospitals of the unnecessary attention of a group of patients whose ailments could be treated effectively in the clinics and contribute with it, in addition, to the saving of resources.
Meanwhile, the Cuban President insisted on paying special attention to the good treatment of the personnel who work in the clinics.