14ymedio’s Faces of 2020: Francisco Duran, Director of Epidemiology

Francisco Durán has been the visible face of Covid in Cuba, as well as the strategist of epidemiological decisions.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 26 December 2020 — Originally from Santiago de Cuba, the person in charge of leading the response to Covid-19 in Cuba seemed predestined to be a doctor by family tradition, since he is the son of a psychiatrist and a stomatologist.

He graduated in Medicine in Havana in 1975 and began his professional work at the Military Hospital of Camagüey, although it was not until 1980 that he began to specialize in the field that he commands today. Then he began his work in the Provincial Budget Unit of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Santiago de Cuba, where he ended up being the deputy director.

In 1991 he took charge of the AIDS Sanatorium, and in 1994 he was appointed rector of the Higher Institute of Medical Sciences of the Province of Santiago de Cuba, of which he was the director of Health until 2014. In 2018 he was elected national director of Epidemiology of the Ministry, which has led him to be  the person responsible and the visible face of the fight against the pandemic on the Island.

With Durán at the helm, Cuba has managed to successfully emerge from a disease that has cost the lives of millions of people arund the world, according to some experts due to a combination of factors that especially relate to prevention rather than the treatment of those affected. The widespread primary care, epidemiological surveillance, the early closure of borders and the ease of limiting public liberties have contributed to the good official data.

On the negative side, Durán has had to face criticism from those who have rejected his constant appeals to responsibility and individual fault in a public health problem.

See more 14ymedio’s series Faces of 2020


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