“Behind each number, statistic, are lives saved, the quality of life, happiness and satisfaction of our people, and the commitment to how much more we can do every day,” stated member of the Party Political Bureau and Minister of Public Health, Dr. Roberto Morales Ojeda, at a ceremony to mark the 59th anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, where the principal results of the National Health System over 2017 were presented.
A few examples are enough to demonstrate as such. Today, Cuba has the lowest infant mortality rate in its history. Standing at 4.1 deaths per 1,000 live births – which represents 35 less deaths of infants aged under one year old, compared to the same period of 2016 – this indicator is even expected to improve on this figure by the end of the year, thanks to the efforts of the Cuban public health system, and the commitment and vigilance of sector workers.
If an examination of the island’s health indicators is carried out, the improvements are clearly evident. Life expectancy at birth of the Cuban population, which has reached an overall average of 78.45 years, has continued to grow; and now stands at 80.45 years for women and 76.50 years for men.
The Health Minister also noted that the maternal mortality rate has been reduced from 42.6 to 38.0 deaths per 100,000 live births, representing six fewer maternal deaths. Likewise, as a result of the Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, in the last three years mortality rates due to this disease have ceased to grow.
As for areas such as hygiene, epidemiology and microbiology, Dr. Morales explained that the incidence of confirmed cases of dengue decreased by 68% compared to the previous year, while no Chikungunya cases were diagnosed. In mid-December, Zika transmission was reported in 18 municipalities of the country, with a continued decline in cases.
Meanwhile, the Minister noted the sustained increase in surgical activity, with the completion to date of 989,209 procedures in the country, (some 5,326 more than in 2016), and it is estimated that by the end of this year more than one million surgeries will have been carried out, for the sixth consecutive year.
In this regard, Dr. Morales also highlighted the increase in the number of surgeries using minimally invasive techniques, which represent 14% of total major elective surgeries.
Significant results were also achieved in the application of natural and traditional medicine, as the country produced more than 71 million units of natural products, the highest figure in its history.
Similarly, the Minister noted the role that programs for the replacement of medical equipment and the introduction of new technologies in the national health system, training in advanced technologies, and investments and constructive maintenance to health facilities, have played in achieving these strong health indicators.
“In the last four years, 24,317 pieces of medical equipment have been imported for a value exceeding 210 million dollars, benefiting all medical specialties and most of the health institutions in the country. This has made it possible to raise the quality of medical care for patients, in correspondence with the main health conditions of the Cuban population,” Dr. Morales explained.
These results, he said, are the best way to celebrate a new anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution and to continue fulfilling the concept of Revolution as expressed by the Comandante en Jefe, Fidel Castro Ruz.
Dr. Morales Ojeda extended the congratulations for the 59th anniversary of the Revolution to every public health worker, working in and outside of the country, in the 67 nations where Cuba now offers medical collaboration, and expressed his wishes for their happiness and personal and family success over the coming year.
“We have the conviction that there is no problem without a solution, what it takes is to find it, and this is possible if the collective becomes an army of thinkers, where everyone contributes,” he stressed.