Children’s Health: A Reason to Condemn the US Blockade

Cuba’s National Hero Jose Marti said “we work for our children because they express their love and they are the hope of the world”.  This was published in Our America essay in the Illustraded Magazine of New York on January 1st, 1891.Although Cuba has done the imaginable since January 1st, 1959 to carry out the phrase of our National Hero in order to care for our children, the economic blockade imposed by the US over half a century continues to impede the island from purchasing important medication and equipment produced by its own institutions and other nations.

However, Cuba’s infant mortality rate in 2015 was registered for the 8th consecutive year under five for every one thousand live births, ratifying itself among the first 20 in the world and leading the Americas.

The island also has a National Vaccination Program that immunizes children against 13 preventable diseases, the majority of them already eradicated and others that does not constitute a health problem in the country.

The Socialist State has never spared in resources to save a life and an example of this is the creation of specialized centers and a Cardio-Pediatric Network to assist and operate on children with congenital anomalies.

The William Soler Pediatric Cardio Center was founded 30 years ago by the historic leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro and has carried out over 9 thousand heart surgeries with a 92 percent survival rate, according to statistics of the Health Ministry.

Other achievements are the mortality rate by congenital heart conditions; and the World Health Organization’s announcement that Cuba is the first country in the world in eradicating the maternal-child transmission of HIV-Aids and congenital syphilis.  If the US blockade were not in place, Cuba’s health achievements would be superior.

Since the beginning of the US economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba it has not only affected the sector economically, but the impact has caused considerable damage to the population.

It is difficult to calculate if you take into account the people and families affected, mainly in the need of purchasing medication, reactive, spare parts for diagnostic and treatment equipment, tools and buying them in others far away markets.

Cuba has also had the need to incur to intermediaries increasing the costs and delays in treating its patients.

The report on the effects of the blockade presented by Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez demonstrates the prohibition to the island to import medical equipment with US components and technology, to have access to patents in that country and products, technologies or equipment as well as high technology surgical pieces.

Cuba is still prohibited in purchasing products or medications destined to secure better treatment and special prosthesis among others.

We must say that Cuban health professionals and workers in general look for alternatives to ease the difficulties of the economic war which have contributed to achievements comparable to developed nations.

This achievement is an example of the efforts and concern of the Cuban State in seeing our children grow and radiate love, tenderness and happiness through their smiles and hearts as well as their family.

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