U.S. Blockade Hinders Organ Transplant Process in Cuba

Medical team visiting a patient who received a live donor kidney transplant, Villa Clara, Cuba, April, 2017.
Medical team visiting a patient who received a live donor kidney transplant, Villa Clara, Cuba, April, 2017. | Photo: Twitter/ @Granma_Digital

Although Cuban doctors do not always have all the necessary supplies, they have managed to perform 6,385 kidney transplants since 1970.

Feb 28 (teleSUR) Cuba’s physician Julio Cesar Sierra Friday denounced that the United States blockade against his country is hurting the population that needs vital organ transplants.

“The blockade prevents Cuba from acquiring the essential resources for the successful development of transplant processes on the Island,” the transplant coordinator condemned.

According to Sierra, resources such as medicines, reagents, and other supplies are imported from developed countries and Cuba needs to overcome many obstacles to reach them.

“Although the Island has become a regional-level example in health care,  we need agility and ease in obtaining these inputs. Every transplant process urgently demands that we always have everything essential at hand.”​​​​​​​

Cuba has encouraging results in its organ transplant program. In the western mountainous area, for example, doctors recently saved a nine-year-old boy after his father donated a kidney​​​​​​​.​​​​​​​

Among other positive experiences, the specialist mentioned the creation of health promotion groups in 2019, which has helped to raise awareness about the importance of organ transplantation for patients.

“These health groups allow us to eliminate certain taboos since many people do not want to talk about organ donation. They are also afraid to take the step or receive a part of another person’s body,” Sierra said.

From 1970 to date, Cuba has managed to perform 6,385 kidney transplants, 544 of which came from live donors, with an 80 percent survival rate, according to the local outlet Trabajadores.

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