Strengthening Health Systems: Cuba’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Addressing the Pan American Health Organization
Dr. José Angel Portal Miranda, the Minister of Public Health of Cuba, recently gave a keynote address at the 60th session of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the 75th session of the Regional Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the Americas. Dr. Miranda expressed his gratitude towards Dr. Jarbas Barbosa and commended the comprehensive document presented at the meeting, noting its significance and utility.
Inequalities in Healthcare Amidst the Pandemic
Despite the global efforts to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Miranda pointed out that the world has failed to control the virus’s devastating impacts. The pandemic has further magnified asymmetries and inequities in healthcare. He questioned the conditions imposed on life, emphasizing the universal right to life, and called upon the organization to address these inequalities.
Importance of Resilient Health Systems
Dr. Miranda criticized governments that have overlooked the significance of resilient health systems, even as millions succumbed to the virus during the pandemic. He concurred with Dr. Barbosa’s vision for PAHO’s future and affirmed Cuba’s support for the five strategic pillars outlined, aiming to achieve universal health in the Americas.
Cuba’s National Health System: A Pillar of Strength
Cuba’s state is committed to ensuring access to public health as a right for all, including free and quality services. The strength of Cuba’s National Health System has allowed the country to effectively combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Through efficient healthcare management, intersectoral collaboration, and scientific development, Cuba developed its own vaccines and executed a national vaccination campaign like no other.
The Impact of External Challenges
Despite the severe economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the U.S government and the implications of Cuba’s arbitrary inclusion in the list of alleged state sponsors of terrorism, the country has persevered. Dr. Miranda highlighted the significant damage these actions have inflicted on the Cuban economy and its people.
Global Medical Assistance and Cooperation
Cuba’s National Health System, founded on the principles of solidarity and cooperation, has facilitated more than 605,000 Cuban collaborators’ provision of medical care in 165 nations over the past 60 years. Currently, approximately 23,000 are working in 56 countries.
Cuba’s Commitment to Universal Health
Having achieved “health for all”, Cuba reiterated its commitment to share its experiences and human resources with PAHO and its member states. Dr. Miranda stressed the need to strengthen, perfect, unite, innovate, and cooperate within health systems to effectively respond to humanity’s complex challenges. He reaffirmed Cuba’s commitment to collaborate with member countries to achieve universal health in the Americas.
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