The Philippines looks to Cuban healthcare


Granma | 25 August, 2016

Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial and her colleagues inquired about the transplant system; cancer treatments; medicine providers; and foreign patient services. Photo: Yaimí Ravelo

A delegation from the Philippine Department of Health, led by Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial, is currently visiting Cuba in order to learn how the island’s national public health system works, specifically the role of primary care facilities, as well as meet and speak with sector authorities.

On August 24, the delegation met with a group of specialists from the Hermanos Ameijeiras Clinical and Surgical Hospital in the Cuban capital, who explained the principal objectives and tasks of the tertiary-level hospital which also offers secondary-level services.
Emilio Buchaca, deputy director of Medical Attention at the facility, which will be celebrating its 33rd anniversary this year, highlighted the important role it has played since its founding, with the introduction and use of new technologies in the country, the development of organ and tissue transplants, complex surgeries including keyhole procedures and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, among others.
The health representative noted that the hospital receives referrals from all over the country.
According to Buchaca “An average of 1,200 to 1,300 people are seen in our clinics every day, and around 15,000 patients are admitted to the facility annually, meanwhile between 19,000 and 20,000 undergo a surgical procedure.” He also noted that the hospital offers medical services for international patients.
Likewise, the specialist highlighted that teaching and research have been widely promoted with “approximately 2,000 specialists have graduated from our institution over recent years, Cuban doctors and those from other countries, as well as participants on courses, seminars and other educational formats.”
Meanwhile over 300 research projects are currently being conducted at the hospital, in order to contribute to “the comprehensive training of specialists in medical care, teaching and research.”
During the meeting, Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial and her colleagues inquired about the hospital’s transplant system; cancer treatments; medicine providers; and foreign patient services. Speaking with the press afterwards, the Philippine Health Secretary stated that the delegation is visiting Cuba to learn from the island’s public healthcare system, in order to work toward providing universal medical care to all Philippines, highlighting that the country’s “infant mortality rate is the same as that of Cuba 40 years ago, that is to say 24 for every 1,000 live births.”
In regards to Cuba’s international medical collaboration she noted that cooperation programs have not only benefited the island, enabling it to strengthen its public healthcare system, but also the nations in which it offers its services. “We hope that the Philippines might also have the opportunity to benefit from such medical cooperation and have a contingent of Cuban health professionals in our country,” she noted.
On August 24, the delegation also visited one of the capital’s primary healthcare facilities, the “19 de abril” polyclinic located in the municipality of Plaza de la Revolución.
There, Dr. Caridad Pérez Charbonier, a representative from the Ministry of Public Health’s Primary Healthcare department, spoke with delegation members about the history and principles on which the Cuban system is founded, as well as its development and structure, highlighting the family doctor program created in 1984.





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