The use of technological advances to benefit society and their implementation in various fields, such as medicine, is one of the primary objectives of the Central Institute for Digital Research (ICID), with the purpose of guaranteeing the wellbeing of the Cuban people.
Dedicated to the development of medical electronic devices in Cuba, this entity is affiliated with the BioCubaFarma Enterprise Group, which brings together the island’s pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical equipment industries.
ICID was founded in 1969 as a pilot plant, originally called the Digital Research Center. Its first purpose was to develop a minicomputer. After a year, and with a small group of young engineers and students of the University of Havana, the first Cuban digital minicomputer, the CID-201, was created.
Subsequently, with the perfection of the technology, new models were created, in addition to peripheral devices such as keyboards, video terminals, as well as operating systems and high-level programming languages.
In 1983, the first investigations applied to medical equipment began, and two years later the first Cuban-made digital electrocardiograph, the CARDIOCID-PC, was introduced in the country’s hospitals.
Research, development, production, marketing, and installation of electronic equipment, as well as computer modules, accessories, and applications for medicine and biotechnology, mean ICID has highly qualified personnel.
The products manufactured in the Center are grouped under the trademark COMBIOMED, which is also the ICID’s foreign trade enterprise, with exclusive rights to the sale of its equipment abroad.
In 1991, exports of the first medical equipment based on the CARDIOCID M computer began.
Israel Zayas, commercial vice president of this institution, tells Granma International: “Exports are mainly to Latin America, countries such as Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia and Brazil. A sale was also made on the African continent, specifically in Angola, and we are trying to gain other international markets.”
In Cuba, the enterprise mainly supplies the Ministry of Public Health and certain health centers, such as the Cira García Central Clinic, the Medical and Surgical Research Center (CIMEQ), the La Pradera International Health Center, the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation’s clinic, and the International Center for Neurological Restoration (CIREN).
“There is a very large difference between our costs with respect to equipment on the international market. The value of equipment manufactured in Cuba is 40% less than any available on the international market. In addition, we guarantee the supply of spare parts, with which we contribute to the substitution of imports,” Zayas adds.
LINES OF BUSINESS
Research is carried out in cooperation with Cuban public health organizations, including the Institute of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery, the Havana Provincial Medical Emergency Center, the National Institute of Oncology and Radiobiology, and the William Soler Pediatric Cardio Center, among others.
The ICID promotes a line of devices for cardiac investigations, its main area of research. This is divided into two fundamental areas: diagnosis and rehabilitation; for which specific equipment is provided for the country’s hospitals, among which are electrocardiographs, portable electrocardiograph recorders (ECG), cardiopulmonary stress testing systems (ERGOCID AT-PLUS), defibrillators and biphasic monitors.
Zayas indicates that for the correct development of this sector, ICID incorporates some accessories purchased on the international market, in order to provide a higher quality service.
He also explains that the firm provides full maintenance service, with spare parts and specialized personnel for this work guaranteed.
He emphasizes that ICID has two factories: a mechanical production plant, and an electronics production plant. The mechanical components that make up medical equipment are made in the first, using a wide range of high technology machinery and tools.
“In the second, the circuit boards are installed and their operation is tested, while the equipment is assembled, as well as the packaging and final preparation before they are stored pending their final destination,” he adds.
The equipment manufactured in the Center complies with ISO 13485 Medical Devices, and ISO 9001 Quality Management System international standards, and is also certified by the Center for State Control of Medicines, Medical Equipment and Devices (CECMED), which is the Cuban equivalent to the certification of the European Union and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Zayas explains.
ICID has been awarded several prizes for the quality of its products, such as the Exporter Prize, granted by the Ministry of the Iron, Steel, Mechanical and Electronic Industry; and the National Design Award, presented by the National Office of Industrial Design, among others.