Photo: Granma

SAN SALVADOR.— The governments of Cuba and El Salvador have signed an agreement which will see experts from the island’s Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine (IPK) offer a Masters degree course in Epidemiology to 35 professionals from the Central American nation.

Salvadoran students will be trained by Cuban specialists in the fields of environmental health, services and research. The course will last two years and is being financed by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation.

El Salvador’s Minister of Public Health, Violeta Menjívar, described the agreement as a new milestone in bilateral cooperation between the two countries; also noting that despite resistance to the government’s social policies from opposition groups, the initiative will benefit the population by contributing to improving the country’s healthcare services.
She went on to highlight the advances made by El Salvador regarding maternal-infant indicators, but admitted the need to address society’s health issues from an etiological perspective, in order to eradicate risk factors which contribute to the spread of plagues and tropical diseases.

“In 2016 our country stood out in the Americas as one of quickest nations to control mosquito-borne diseases; such as Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika,” stated Minister Menjívar.

However, social phenomena such as urbanization, migration, violence, population aging, accidents and unhealthy life styles, pose new public health challenges, the solutions to which in various cases are epidemiological.

She also highlighted the country’s deficit of epidemiologists, noting that the Healthcare Reform revealed the need to train more professionals in this field, which is why El Salvador’s government has approached specialists at the globally renowned IPK.