EFE (via14ymedio), Havana, 10 April 2022 — Cuba’s Minister of Public Health, José Ángel Portal, acknowledged this Saturday that 2021 was the “hardest” year for the sector “in recent decades” due to the covid-19 pandemic, although he highlighted the work of health personnel in this scenario.
The headline noted, quoted by the official media outlet Cubadebate, that the circulation of the Delta variant of the coronavirus — whose first case in the country was detected in March 2020 — led to a complex epidemiological panorama during last July and August.
At that time, the new positives exceeded 9,000 and the deaths were close to a hundred daily, according to data released by the Ministry of Public Health (Minsap) and compiled by Efe.
Portal considered the high level of immunization in the Cuban population as an advance in the health system, where nearly 90% of the 11.2 million inhabitants have at least one dose of the three Cuba-developed vaccines against covid-19.
However, he blamed the crisis generated by the pandemic and the “strengthening” of the US economic embargo for the “sensitive” impact on the “availability of resources and on population health indicators.”
Last year, “the number of deaths increased in all the country’s territories, with the 60-year-old age group being the most affected,” he said.
He added that “covid-19 had a negative impact on registered infant and maternal mortality rates.”
The report also recognizes “the lack and low coverage of medicines, medical supplies, diagnostics, expendable material” and “problems in the technological infrastructure, obsolescence and breakdown of equipment.”
In January, the president of the state group of the biopharmaceutical industry (BioCubaFarma), Eduardo Martínez, informed the official newspaper Granma that in 2021 it only supplied 121 of its portfolio of 359 drugs.
The “basic” palette of medicines, according to the Government, includes 619 products.
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