Dr. María Guadalupe Guzmán Tirado noted that measures to combat infectious diseases were a key issue discussed during the Ninth National Microbiology and Parasitology Congress. Photo: Nuria Barbosa

Advances in the comprehensive recovery of patients and research into bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic infections were the focus of debates during the Seventh International Rehabilitation and Ninth Microbiology and Parasitology congresses held recently in Havana.

Under the maxim “Rehabilitation based on evidence, transdiciplinarity and integrality,” renowned Cuba experts discussed the positive results of the social reincorporation of patients treated at different levels of the national healthcare system, as well as those treated by Cuban collaborators working abroad.
“Our specialty has a broad scope and has been implemented nationwide since the 1990s through the National Rehabilitation Program, designed by the Ministry of Public Health (Minsap),” stated MSc Yamilé Sánchez Castillo, a member of the event Organizing Committee, who went on to note that the program is present in 485 polyclinics, over 90 hospitals, retirement homes, psychopedagogy centers, and other facilities linked to the healthcare sector.
She mentioned that the program is also available at international clinics on the island, noting that Cuba trains hundreds of foreign professionals in this specialty, efforts which have been recognized by the World and Pan American Health Organizations in international forums, as an example to follow.
Noteworthy topics discussed during the event included the use of new technologies, and the rehabilitation of cancer, neurological, post-surgery, pediatric and cardiorespiratory patients.

Also debated were issues such as medical hydrology; information management and research; quality of life; sexuality: reproductive health and pelvic floor disorders; natural and traditional medicine; as well as bio-energy treatments; disability prevention in older adults; neurodevelopment and early stimulation; animal assisted therapy; rehabilitation in sports medicine; nursing within the specialty; as well as other relevant topics, according to Dr. Jorge Luis González Roig PhD, president of the Organizing Committee.
The doctor also noted that Cuba had the privilege of organizing the Latin American Physical Rehabilitation Congress in 1999 with the participation of numerous international guests and is currently taking the necessary steps to apply to host the event in 2020. The next congress will be held in Ecuador in 2018 where, based on the results achieved in this specialty, the country to host the subsequent edition will be chosen.

Dr. Yamilé Sánchez Castillo and Dr. Luis González Roig stated that the Seventh International Rehabilitation Congress Cuba 2017 featured a varied scientific program and broad participation of international guests. Photo: Nuria Barbosa

Meanwhile, the Ninth National Microbiology and Parasitology Congress also served to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine (IPK), running parallel to which were the Seventh National Tropical Medicine Congress and Seventh HIV/AIDS Seminar. Over 150 participants from 26 countries travelled to Havana to attend these events.
The congresses provided an “opportunity to debate, exchange and update our knowledge,” according to President of the Cuban Microbiology and Parasitology Society, Dr. María Guadalupe Guzmán Tirado, who went on to note that participants discussed key issues “including the epidemiological situation regarding dengue, chikungunya and Zika, which continues to affect us to date,” and highlighted the historic work of the IPK investigating and treating infectious diseases in the country.
Speaking to Granma International, the researcher noted that the event featured 35 symposiums, three panel discussions and various keynote speeches by renowned experts.
“We discussed diarrhoeal and respiratory diseases, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and others. We talked about the current situation regarding Cuban vaccines like the one we developed against pneumococcal diseases, and inter-hospital infections, emerging pathologies and others,” stated the microbiologist.
The Congress kicked off with scientific activities held across different Cuban healthcare institutions. The best works were then selected to be presented during the National Congress, while actions linked to research within the field were held at the municipal and provincial level.
Dr. María Guadalupe Guzmán Tirado emphasized the importance of educating and preparing the population in order to combat pathogenic agents which cause terrible epidemics, and highlighted prevention efforts as a vital tool in the battle against infectious diseases.