OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE
One of the renovated pavilions at the Salvador Allende Hospital. Photo: Jose M. Correa

With the aim of improving the quality of services, two of the capital’s most well known hospitals, the Miguel Enríquez and Salvador Allende, are benefitting from a nationwide investment, repair and maintenance process, ongoing for the last four years.

The Miguel Enríquez Hospital, known to most as the La Benéfica, is situated in the Havana municipality of 10 de Octubre and was inaugurated in 1983 as a mutualist clinic belonging to the Gallegos Society (immigrants from Galicia). At that time the institution offered medical, surgical, and dental services.

After the triumph of the Revolution it became a clinical-surgical hospital run by the people, for the people, and at the end of 1974 was renamed after Chilean doctor and political leader Miguel Enríquez Espinosa (1944-1974, who died fighting against the bloody military dictatorship in Chile).
Today, the institution has 425 beds, admits an average of 11,000 patients, offers 80,000 consultations across 34 specialties, and treats some 95,000 emergency cases, every year.
The hospital was first expanded during the 1980s. On December 31, 1988 Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz inaugurated a new eight-story building adjacent to the main site, with a capacity of 265 beds; as well as another newly renovated facility in the surgical department with 12 operating theaters, a burn unit, and diagnostics center.

Repairs to the Miguel Enríquez Hospital. Photo: Nuria Barbosa

Meanwhile, in efforts to implement the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and Revolution approved during the Communist Party of Cuba’s Seventh Congress in 2011, healthcare facilities throughout the country are currently being renovated and repaired as part of a nationwide transformation process being carried out across the entire sector.

Three new 26-bed wards have been opened at the Miguel Enrique Hospital; one in the Surgery department, the second in Geriatrics, and a third in Internal Medicine - all of which had been closed since 2003. These works have contributed to increasing the hospital’s efficiency, guaranteeing surgical procedures, and improving emergency services.

This first phase also saw repair and maintenance works to the staff cafeteria, and emergency department, as well as a bloc which includes 100 beds, transitional and intensive care units, clinical laboratory, X-ray services, and two surgical patient preparation areas, both with 24 beds.
Meanwhile, 10 new operating theaters were inaugurated in January 2017, all equipped with modern technology for minimal access, neurological, ophthalmological and oncological procedures; while clinical and non-clinical fittings and furnishing were replaced for increased comfort in waiting and consultation areas.

At present, the laundry room, sterilization unit, and two other hospital wards are undergoing maintenance.
According to staff, the severe, progressing, and mild burns units, as well as another operating theater, teaching areas, doctors on-call rooms, and a storage/dining facility, should be completed by July 26, National Rebellion Day, an historic date for Cubans when, in 1953, Fidel and a group of revolutionaries attacked the Moncada Garrison in Santiago de Cuba.
The hospital has also received 93 new medical devices, including two chemistry analyzers, two gasometers, Rx remote controls, a C-Arm X-ray System, six artificial kidneys, state-of-the-art neurosurgery microscopes, and anesthesia and MRI machines.
In 2013 the center had a total of 35 computers with out-dated software and no intranet. Now all have intranet access, with servers for authorized users, browsing and Internet services, as well as the GALEN computerized medical records system.
Similar things are happening at the Salvador Allende clinical-surgical teaching Hospital, located in the Havana municipality of Cerro, and opened in 1897 as a health facility under the name “La Covadonga,” belonging to the mutualist society of Asturian immigrants.

This institution, set on grounds covering an expanse of 136,000 square meters, offers services in 30 specialties, is composed of 40 buildings divided into pavilions, and has 24 wards and 432 beds, which received 12,788 patients in 2016.
Two wards are set to receive an additional 20 beds, as well as undergo repairs, which should be completed this year. Meanwhile, filter and hydro-pressure machines have been installed to supply high-pressure soft water to washing machines, the main sterilization unit, and boilers. Repairs have also been carried out to the incineration room, where equipment there, along with the Exciplex laser, has undergone maintenance works.

Meanwhile, repairs to the clinical and microbiology laboratories, as well as the building which houses outpatient consultation facilities, are set to be completed by December.
Maintenance work has also been carried out in the surgical unit, three admissions wards, the gastroenterology and pathological anatomy departments, the center for brain conditions, and emergency room.

Similar projects are also being undertaken in areas dedicated to nuclear medicine, sterilization, teaching rooms, the kitchen, and various admissions wards.

These two well known, free, public hospitals are clear proof that the investment process is fulfilling its objectives by continuing to improve health indicators, increase the quality of services and patient satisfaction, and making the island’s healthcare system more efficient and sustainable, which together contribute to guaranteeing the social development of the country.