A ‘Young Revolutionary’ Denounces the Workload in Cuban Hospitals

Cuba remains at the highest levels of covid infections since the pandemic began. (EFE / Yander Zamora / Archive)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 25 January 2021 — The provincial authorities have recognized, after a tour of several hospitals in Havana, that there are problems in the scheduling of health workers. “There were concerns regarding the availability of the necessary personnel and complaints about the rotation system,” reported the Tribuna de La Habana, “which is being studied by the Ministry of Health to make it more workable,” in the words of the Vice Minister of Science, Technology and Environment, Tania Margarita Cruz Hernández.

Last Saturday, a nurse publicly denounced the working situation they experience in the Doctor Luis Díaz Soto Naval Hospital, in the municipality of La Habana del Este. “We have almost no relief, we are working 16 days, 8 day of quarantine in the military sites and we rest at home only 5 days,” the young man identified as Adam Roque wrote on Facebook.

“We are experiencing constant stress,” he lamented. “They do not give us an answer and when we talk to the bosses they tell us that if we do not like it, ask for a discharge,” he said, while wondering “why the lack of respect for professionals?” and asking for help to make his post viral.

As a result of the opinions raised by his post which was also picked up by the independent press, he pointed out on Sunday: “I have been reading every comment and I want you to know that at no time have I blamed what is happening on the Government or on our leaders. I love my people and I love my country… Nor do I want my publication to be used for the counterrevolution,” he wrote. And he added these words: “I am a young revolutionary and the only thing I want is my right to rest, just like my colleagues.”

In his daily meeting to report on the pandemic, Luis Antonio Torres Iríbar, president of the Provincial Defense Council of Havana, asked this Monday for a “rigorous” response to violations of healthcare regulations to mitigate COVID infections among medical personnel.

He also urged that “an effort” be made so that the results of the PCR tests reach those interested in the first 24 hours or “at the most,” in 48 hours, in addition to insisting on selecting “the suitable personnel to work in the isolation centers,” and provide “adequate treatment to patients… In these institutions there must be medicines to treat the most frequent ailments in the population,” the official was quoted in the local newspaper.

Both the delay in the tests and the mistreatment in some isolation centers and the lack of medications intended for patients with chronic diseases are complaints that have been repeated in recent weeks.

The Ministry of Health reported 567 new Covid positives on Monday and three deaths from the disease, which brings the accumulated cases to 21,828 and the total deaths to 197. The Island, in this second wave, is experiencing its maximum levels of contagion since the pandemic began.

On Friday, in addition, the presence in Cuba of the South African variant of the coronavirus, found in an asymptomatic traveler from South Africa, was confirmed and, according to Dr. María Guadalupe Guzmán, director of Research, Diagnosis and Reference of the Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine, it has not been ruled out that it has spread. “A number of cases are being reported daily, but this does not include testing for the variant,” she said in a public appearance.

On the other hand, Dr. Rolando Ochoa Azze, senior researcher at the Finlay Vaccine Institute, the center that develops the Cuban vaccine candidates Soberana 01 and Soberana 02, assured that the first vaccine candidate is being tested in a clinical trial as of January 16 in “convalescents from the illness.”

These are 30 volunteers, between 19 and 59 years old, who had a mild clinical picture or were asymptomatic and were positive in antibody studies and who, therefore, “may be susceptible to reinfection,” explained Ochoa.

However, the Cuban vaccine candidate that is in a more advanced stage is Soberana 02, which is being developed with the collaboration of Iran.


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