Cuba Steps up Efforts to Care for the Elderly

Cuba is intensifying efforts to secure better protection of the elderly in view of its rapidly aging population.

In remarks to Prensa Latina, Head of the Department for the Elderly, Social Assistance and Mental Health of the Public Health Ministry, Alberto Fernandez, said that the country is facing great challenges in this regard, included in the guidelines of the State economic and social policy.

A rapid aging of the population surprised the world since late 20th Century, and health systems must get ready to face this situation, he said.

Fernandez highlighted the program of the family doctor and nurse implemented in Cuba since the 80s at the initiative of historical leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro.

He said another challenge is redesigning the country’s health service to cater for the high adult population that need hospital services, including geriatrics, starting with increasing the number of beds.

He said there are plans to have one bed for every 2,000 senior citizens in the geriatrics service, characterized by a quality, personalized attention.

Challenges include the increase in the number of houses and residential homes for the elderly, including the number of beds in the latter facilities.

Efforts have also been made to improve stomatology and rehabilitation services and the production of medicines for the elderly, added Fernandez.

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