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Cuban Health

Write a Book.


By: Eloy A Gonzalez.

Buena parte de mi vida está vinculada con los libros. Much of my life is linked with the books. Los reconocí un día del año 1962 en aquella amplia biblioteca de una casona confiscada a sus dueños. I recognized one day in 1962 in this large library of a house confiscated from its owners. La sensación que experimenté aquel verano aun lo recuerdo con delectación.The feeling I experienced that summer still remember with pleasure.

The idea of writing has always accompanied me. Completing a book is another issue that has occupied me last year. This after a brief contact with death, living the hazardous conditions and have a good number of articles I have written in recent years.
Es que desde hace cinco años  comencé a escribir artículos sobre temas de Salud, Medicina y Educación Médica en Cuba, muy a tono con mi profesión, esa que me había acompañado  durante casi 30 años y que retomé brevemente hace apenas tres años.Is that five years ago I started writing articles on topics of Health, Medicine and Medical Education in Cuba, quite in keeping with my profession, that had accompanied me for almost 30 years and may return briefly just three years ago. Hace algún tiempo escribí un artículo titulado: “Buen Aniversario” (puede consultarse en Internet) que bien explica los sucesos y motivaciones que me han llevado a escribir tantos artículos de opinión sobre temas muy variados. Some time ago I wrote an article entitled "Good Anniversary" (available on the Internet) that clearly explains the events and motivations that have led me to write opinion articles on many varied topics. Hace seis meses, y siguiendo a un silencio demasiado prolongado, les brindé mi artículo: “Regreso a escribir”. Six months ago, following a silence too long, I toasted my article: "Back to writing." Vale la pena repetir lo que fue una especie de declaración de intenciones sobre lo que sería mi hacer a partir de finales de año 2009:It is worth repeating what was a sort of mission statement about what should be done from my end of year 2009:

En este punto de inflexión, y como nada tengo. At this turning point, as I have nothing. Me muestro compasivo y amable tanto como puedo ser iracundo e irreverente, siempre que lo crea conveniente. I remain compassionate and kind, much as I can be angry, irreverent, whenever it sees fit. No tengo lealtades a quienes responder, ni alineaciones que me fuercen a pensar.I have no loyalties to those who respond, or alignments that force me to think. No tengo esperanzas inmediatas, ni pasiones que me inhiban. I have no immediate hopes, and passions that inhibit me. Disfruto del sosiego de los días estériles y me sumerjo en las noches agradables del insomnio y los sueños. I enjoy the serenity of the barren days and I bathe in the pleasant nights of insomnia and dreams. No cuento con la vida, así me resulta más fácil llevarla sin sobresaltos. I do not have a living, so I take it easier smoothly.

Fue precisamente en ese tiempo de silencio que concebí la idea de seleccionar aquellos artículos sobre temas de Salud y Medicina que tanto me habían ocupado; algunos aparecieron, con algunas modificaciones, en estas páginas. Agrupar los artículos, revisarlos y adecuarlos a una edición por demanda parecía una tarea fácil pero no fue así. It was precisely in that quiet time that I conceived the idea of selecting those articles on topics of Health and Medicine had me so busy; some appeared, with some modifications, in these pages. Grouping articles, review and editing to suit demand seemed an easy task but it did not. Terminada la selección y revisado los textos, estaba listo lo que sería el libro: “La Habana bien vale unos Títulos”. After the selection and revised text, which would be ready the book: "La Habana bien vale unos titulos”.  La edición fue completada por un buen trabajo del diseñador, Salvador Andrade, quien con la portada y contraportada salvó una edición que muestra algunos problemas en los créditos y la tipografía. The edition was supplemented by a good job of the designer, who with the front and back covers saved an issue that shows some problems in the credits and typography.

Faltó en el libro un artículo esencial. Lacking in the book an essential item. Se trata de la nota introductoria y Las Bases y Estatutos del Colegio Medico Independiente de Cuba.This is the introductory note and Bases and Statutes of the Independent Medical College of Cuba. Texto que preparé íntegramente en Cuba en el año de 1997. Prepared text entirely in Cuba in 1997. Ese texto, fundamental para este libro, no lo tenía para incluirlo;  espero que algún día pueda recuperarlo. That text, central to this book was not to include it, I hope that someday it back.

Ayer recibí el libro, las expectativas de tener en la mano un libro al que le dediqué tanto tiempo y energías me produjo una alegría que disfrute en soledad.Yesterday I received the book, expected to have on hand a book to which I devoted much time and energy was a joy that I enjoy in solitude. El libro no es nada pretencioso, tiene el valor de que es mi libro; las ideas y opiniones que están en sus páginas muestran mi quehacer creativo libre de presiones, contradicciones y temores. The book is unpretentious, has a value that is my book, the ideas and opinions that are in their pages show my creative activity free of pressures, contradictions and fears.

Este mi libro , el que ahora tengo cerca mientras escribo estas notas, es un sueño que me he regalado. This, mybook, I now have about as I write these notes, is a dream that I've given.No será el único sueño, porque a pesar del drama que representa una vida acabada, es posible hacerse de un sueño y los sueños no tienen cualidades. It will not be the only dream, because despite the drama that represents a life finished, you may be a dream and dreams do not have qualities.

©2010© 2010

Nota: El libro, “La Habana bien vale unos Títulos”, fue publicado en España, mediante el sistema de edición por demanda en la Editorial Bubok.Note: The book, "La Habana bien vale unos titulos”, was published in Spain by the editing system by demands. It was recently published again. It is available on Amazon.  Puede adquirirse  en Internet empleando un buscador con el título ó el nombre del autor. It can be purchased on the Internet using a search engine with the title or author name.


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Conferencia del profesor Roberto C Villafranca de la Escuela de Ciencias Médicas de Matanzas en la Universidad de Miami renueva la polémica ICCAS-ISC.

Considerando la reciente polémica en torno al desmantelamiento del  Instituto Cubano y Cubano Americano de la Universidad de Miami (ICCAS) y la aparición del Instituto de Estudios Cubanos (ISC) surge como burlando los acuerdos no escritos entre las organizaciones del exilio cubano en Miami y la Universidad de Miami este contencioso sobre la visita en invitación cursada por la Universidad de Miami al Dr. Roberto C Villafranca para disertar en esta Universidad sobre el Sistema Nacional de Salud en Cuba impuesto por el régimen Castro comunista.
Anuncio del Department of Public Health de la
Universidad de Miami para la conferencia del Dr. Cañete Villafranca 
Las notas que siguen corresponden a un artículo que aparece hoy en la red del embajador Armando Valladares que ustedes pueden consultar en la red.
El próximo día 18 de este mes de octubre,  en una colaboración con la Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Matanzas, (¿no acordaron que esa colaboración  no iba a suceder?) llega el militante del Partido comunista y profesor de esa entidad, el Dr. Roberto C Villafranca (invitado por el Dr. Frenk) para dar una conferencia en UM  titulada “El Sistema de Salud Pública  de Cuba”.
Hablará de los logros impresionantes en el tratamiento “gratuito” a la población, de la reducción del índice de mortalidad infantil y de las innovaciones, que hacen de la Salud Pública en Cuba, como hace dos décadas viene repitiendo el Dr. Frenk, una de las mejores del Mundo.
Quizás el Dr. Frenk es de esos intelectuales sublimes y despistados y no ha notado  que en Cuba hay una dictadura, todo puede ser, ¿No lleva acaso dos décadas elogiando el Sistema de Salud Pública Cubano  como uno de los mejores del Mundo?
Usted puede leer el artículo: “Alevosa burla y engaño al exilio cubano” del embajador Armando Valladares que fue publicada en el sitio digital de temas cubanos, Nuevo Acción
Nota del Editor:
El Dr. Roberto Cañete Villafranca, (se cambia el primer apellido como la inicial de su segundo nombre) es Doctor en Ciencias Médicas. Médico Especialista de Primero y Segundo Grados en Microbiología, Perfil Parasitología, Parasitólogo adjunto del Instituto Nacional de Gastroenterología y trabaja en la actualidad en el  Centro Provincial de Higiene, Epidemiología y Microbiología. Matanzas, Cuba. Es investigador auxiliar. Profesor Instructor. (Expediente para cambio de categoría a Profesor Titular en proceso). Instituto de Medicina Tropical “Pedro Kouri” (IPK). La Habana, Cuba.
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Cuban officials and doctors misinform about causes of death and transmissions diseases.

Officials and Cuban doctors use abstract language to misinform.

By Oscar Sánchez Madan.*

Officials of the sector's health in Cuba use an indefinite language referring to the causes of the deaths of patients in hospitals and epidemics spreading in several regions of the country. The purpose is to misinform the public.

For cholera employ the expression "disease of digestive transmission" and when referring to a town where there are cases with dengue, allege that "it has waged a campaign against outbreaks of the mosquito Aedes Aegypti", or that "there are people on suspicion" of contracting the ailment.

Another of the euphemisms used is "influenza vaccination campaign", of the efforts to combat the Influenza A virus. This causes highly infectious and dangerous diseases such as bird flu, and the swine flu.

Misinformation or inaccurate communication on diseases and epidemics that affect citizens Matanzas, contributes to these manifest apathy when you call support medical campaigns, is trust, and do not protect against phenomena that they represent common and not risky.

Cuban doctors with Health Minister, Roberto Ojeda, 
arriving at a hospital.

A year ago died in hospital Faustino Pérez, of the city of Matanzas, Mr. Marcelo Marcial Rivero Alonso, who resided in Cidra, community of the municipality of Union de Reyes. Days before his death, he suffered severe diarrhea, vomiting, fever, thirst, strong cramps in the stomach and decay. These are the symptoms of cholera. However, was diagnosed as a cause of death "septic shock".
"Respiratory Distress (suffering)" was the diagnosis of the doctors at the military Hospital for the death, on 6 September last, Pedro Francisco Rodríguez Díaz, 57-year-old national, who also resided in the town of Cidra. This had entered on day 3, with the symptoms of the influenza A H1N1: increased nasal discharge, high fever, cough, sore throat, vomiting and decay.

It has become common to that to outbreaks of Dengue and Influenza A H1N1 as will affect dozens of citizens in Matanzas territory. An official of the Provincial Center of hygiene and epidemiology   speaks of "suspected cases", not sick, referring to mourners. In this way they try to preserve the false image created on the Cuban health system.

It's no secret to the bureaucrats in the health sector the elementary right of citizens to receive detailed, accurate and timely information.

In the province of Matanzas, a few days ago referred to the municipalities "major problems" in the fight against outbreaks of the mosquito that transmits Dengue (Cardenas, Matanzas, Colon and Jagüey Grande). It is disturbing that they have not mentioned the rest of the affected municipalities.

But cited ambivalent language is not exclusive of officials of State medical institutions. In the national housing body are called "extractions" unfair evictions of people from their homes, planned and led by the ruling party.

The executives in the sector of health and medical staff must report accurately all that put in danger the life of citizens; they have an obligation to abandon his abstract language, because it misinforms and, far from resolving problems, complicates them. It is time for the people to respect and speak frankly.


*José Óscar Sánchez Madan, is a Cuban journalist and author in several Cuban newspapers, and a regular contributor of the Miami-based independent news agency CUBANET.

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Being a health professional in Cuba, a doubtful advantage.

Cuba Increases Control over Its Doctors

The exodus of Cuban health professional does not stop, and the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) apparently has decided to act to counter a phenomenon that is damaging domestic medical services but much more the country’s income.

A document attributed to the senior management of MINSAP, adopted in a meeting held in mid-March of this year, has been making the rounds in the e-mail of health professionals in which the sector’s new policy is expressed. This event was confirmed to CubaNet by an official from the Provincial Management of Public Health in Guantanamo, whose identity we do not reveal for obvious reasons.

The document has 18 instructions. The first three are focused on the re-organization of services and the re-location of professionals as a result of the staff review carried out last year.

The other 15 are directed to curbing the exodus of health professionals through private contracts or other avenues and steering the application of the measures in each case.

The document

One of the most controversial, instruction numbers 4 establishes that Cuban doctors in Angola must be relieved, but without increasing the collaboration with that country, until its authorities stop handing down measures that discourage the hiring of Cuban professional in private clinics or institutions.

Another measure, number 5, directs the withdrawal of the passport, in the airport itself, of professionals who later return from the completion of a mission.

Measures 6, 7 and 8 aim to get the private clinics of other countries to hire Cuban doctors through MINSAP, an agency that claims the right to review the professional’s individual contract, obviously so that the doctors pay the corresponding tax to the Cuban government and in no way receive all the money that is due them from the agreed upon wage.

Measure number 10 requires concluding the process of cancelling the diplomas of the 211 professionals who left service without authorization, and number 11 directs MINSAP’s vice-minister of International Relations to carry out a study of the existing rules in the International Labor Organization (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), as it relates to the migration of the sector’s professionals.

Punishing the “undisciplined”

Rule 12 considers it a serious breach for a health professional to not return to Cuba upon fulfillment of his mission abroad without good cause verified by MINSAP, and it requires final separation from the profession by those who engage in said conduct, with the subsequent withdrawal of the degree.

Meanwhile, Rule 13 orders the creation of records of disqualification for those professionals who violate the established procedures for leaving the country. If any of them repents and returns, Rule 14 directs that they cannot be re-located in their previous workplace but in an inferior status.

Another cage for the army of white coats

Rules 16 and 17 of the document are intended to promote meetings with ambassadors of the countries where Cuban health professionals travel, largely for the purpose of discouraging their being recruited to remain and practice in that country.

The heads of Cuban medical teams and ambassadors have received that same instruction. Besides interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, this shows one of the thus-far-discouraged facets of Cuban medical collaboration, which is none other than exerting pressure over the countries receiving these types of services to make them faithful to the regime’s policy, which is clearly established in instruction number 4 with respect to Angola.

Finally, number 18 establishes a monthly coordination between MINSAP and the Department of Identification, Migration and Foreign Affairs of the Interior Ministry so that it will report to MINSAP on the doctors who leave the country as well as those who have begun proceedings for that purpose, in order to take appropriate measures.

Being a health professional in Cuba, a doubtful advantage

The above measures show the doubtful advantage of being a health professional in Cuba, although the same could be said with respect to other professionals.

Determined to provide the country with qualified personnel, the government never concerned itself with steadily encouraging the efforts of the professionals themselves. That explains their massive exodus to foreign countries and other better paying jobs with the consequential social loss.

At the dawn of the 21st Century, renowned Cuban professionals have been subjected to a financial exploitation that not even the fiercest capitalist would have dared to impose. Paid miserable wages, many times they sign unfair contracts that the government offers for them to work abroad because it is the only chance they have of improving their housing or getting housing, or acquiring a car or having some savings for their retirement.

In doing so, at a sometimes irreversible familial cost, they damage their freedom and self-esteem in service to a government for which they are only a source of income that allows it to continue dominating the people.

*Roberto Jesús Quiñones Haces was born in the city of Cienfuegos September 20, 1957. He is a law graduate. In 1999 he was unjustly and illegally sentenced to eight years’ incarceration and since then has been prohibited from practicing as a lawyer. He received the Vitral Grand Prize in Poetry in 2001 with his book “Written from Jail” as well as Mention and Special Recognition from the Nosside International Juried Competition in Poetry in 2006 and 2008, respectively. His poems appear in the 1994 UNEAC Anthology, in the 2006 Nosside Competition Anthology and in the selection of ten-line stanzas “This Jail of Pure Air” published by Waldo Gonzalez in 2009.

Source: Translating Cuba. Translated by MLK 
Well, it is generally accepted that Cuba has one of the best medical doctors in the world. The country's health experts have a much broader role than simply catering for the local population, as the nation exported over 140,000 doctors to the poorest regions across the globe since 1963. Cuba is also home to the best and the largest medical institution with nearly 13,000 students from 124 countries. Our Maimuna Jallow looked at the role the Cuban experts play in enriching country's economy in this report: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQj_IsxY5H4


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