The Cuban Medical Services Distributor (SMC) recently expanded its portfolio of opportunities in the category of scientific events tourism, with 28 encounters scheduled to take place this year alone.

The entity is offering a variety of courses, symposiums, and seminars in order to share the accumulated medical knowledge and experience of the Cuban public health sector, which has successfully developed a wide range of products, procedures, and techniques to treat various illnesses.

Topics to be addressed during these events include: arthroscopic surgery; skin cancer; thermal and quality of life tourism; chiropody; managing patients with diabetic foot syndrome; regenerative medicine – cell therapy; clinical toxicology; hearing impairment rehabilitation; minimally invasive thoracic surgery; beauty and health; head trauma; pesticide poisoning; medical response to disasters; training of primary care medical professionals; family medicine; and the challenges of microbiology and parasitology.

Speaking before the national and international press in Havana, SMC Director Dr. Midalys Castilla Martínez announced that added to these activities are others such as specialized tours of Cuban health institutions; the promotion of medical programs; incentive trips with the signing of agreements or letters of intent; as well as master lectures by international experts.

The Cuban official also noted, “We will be putting on trade fairs within these events, which will include the participation of service providers from international firms and accredited publishers in Cuba. We are aiming to boost exchanges, and offer new products and services to publicize the country’s results in specialties such as natural and traditional medicine, as well as its technological development.”

All activities are based on the accumulated experience of the SMC, a mercantile entity responsible for marketing the island’s health programs for international patients, promoting academic studies in Cuba, and contracting specialists and groups of foreign professionals.

Dr. Midalys Castilla Martínez, director of SMC, explained that the entity offers a variety of courses, congresses, symposiums and seminars, in order to present medical knowledge and experience achieved by the Cuban public healthcare sector. Photo: Nuria Barbosa León Photo: Nuria Barbosa

It also works to establish contracts with insurers, associations, national and foreign entities, regional and international organizations, central and local governments, public or private entities, as well as duly accredited individuals, offering the possibility to personalize each and every one of its programs.

As part of its efforts, the SMC designs and coordinates specialist services offered by important Cuban health centers and institutions, leaders in the fields of technological, research and teaching development on the island, and renowned for their quality of care.

Dr. Castilla Martínez also mentioned the Beauty and Spa Centers Business Plan, which features hydrotherapy services and courses in cosmetic medicine and cosmetology, developed alongside Argentine company Great Way Export, the Cuba National Council of Scientific Societies, and its provincial branches, as well as the Cuban Ministry of Public Health’s (Minsap) Science and Technical Department.

The initiative aims to provide a more detailed understanding of the ethical norms associated with personal beauty, and also offers degree programs and training for level two technicians, in order to reduce, to the extent possible, the use of invasive practices and surgeries, which can be harmful to human health.

The course also functions as a way to update scientific knowledge related to health tourism, wellbeing and quality of life; promote a group of successful products developed by researchers from Cuba’s biotechnology sector, as well as strengthen regulations associated with the activity.

In this regard Juan Margrina, representing Great Way Export, commented on the company’s desire to consolidate joint projects, given the secure business environment offered by Cuba’s stable economic and political system.

Cuban medical services have gained global recognition thanks to its highly trained and humanist professionals. Photo: Miguel Febles Hernández Photo: Miguel Febles Hernández

He also highlighted the development of Cuba’s healthcare and science professionals with tangible results in the fields of pharmaceutical research, technology and procedures, in addition to the geographical advantages of a tropical country with natural areas which could be exploited for tourism.

“Cuba,” stated the Argentine businessman “has scientific development and natural products linked to cosmetology and principally derived from human placenta, which we wish to advertise. One way to achieve this is by training foreign professionals, who could then go on to promote and publicize the issue. We are also discussing ozone therapy devices, of interest to many international health centers.”

Lastly, the Argentine representative commented on the three big events scheduled for the coming months: The first the International Chiropody Congress-Cuba 2017, taking place in May; followed by the Second International Beauty, Cosmetology and Cosmetic Medicine Congress, being held in June; and the First International Cosmetic Medicine and Plastic Surgery Congress-Cuba 2017, set for October.

Regarding this program of activities, Diego Tomatis, president of Great Way’s International Organizing Committee noted that all events will contribute toward promoting health tourism in Cuba, with an emphasis on quality of life therapies; while new pharmaceutical products will be presented and regulations regarding medical practices strengthened.

Both representatives commented on the breadth of events tourism, which given the flexibility of programs and diversity of offers, has the potential to be a sustainable modality, and as such contribute to Cuba’s international and regional positioning as a health destination. Diego Tomatis and Juan Margrina concluded by praising the achievements of the island’s public health system, which provides free medical coverage for the entire population.