Public Health In Cuba, Between Missions, Rabies and Dengue Fever / Juan Juan Almeida

The Cuban Ministry of Public Health turned 105 years old.  Congratulations. Personally I think that health is the most precious non-material heritage a human being can count on.  It should be considered a right for all citizens of the world and a responsibility of each State.

It is sad to know that in spite of the wide arsenal and enormous development that medicine world wide counts on, almost 10 million infants and pregnant women die prematurely each year for causes that, in large measure, are preventable.  Such a powerful reason leads me to applaud the collaboration that, in medical matters, the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) and Cuban doctors offer in different countries.

Ignoring this would be a form of blindness; but clearly, because there is always a why, we should not forget that behind this so fiercely kind action, health has also a conquistador nature.

Sending doctors to the world is a charming and very wise way of creating an army of believers comprised of grateful people.  For each cured patient, there is much more than a satisfied human being.  It seems to me a false altruism that goes in search of lights, flowers, applause and followers.

It is a subtle way of manipulating the opinion of each assisted patient, his friends, acquaintances and family members, in order to capitalize on his logical and sincere appreciation.  It is investing in publicity to provide in pills “revolutionary” ideals.  Sad paradox, because such performance is much more than a simple act of charity; it is a crude strategy to increase the influence of the Cuban government in the Americas and the world, or to change the balance of forces in certain parts of the planet.

Right now, with the purpose of silencing the students who daily protest in the streets of Venezuela, in order to promote votes in favor of the ruling government, President Nicolas Maduro, with a plain loss in popularity, asked his Cuban counterpart to increase, within the next 45 days, the personnel of the medical mission with a new campaign called “Neighborhood inside but well inside,” which is forecast to place medical clinics in places of difficult access with the help of the army, mayor’s offices, and community leaders.

In this new binge of politicized healthiness, Cuban doctors will confront very adverse scenarios, and not because of dealing with going to areas in which extreme poverty reigns, but because in these zones — according to the report that Havana’s MINSAP has — there are no guarantees of security for medical personnel who will live badly in tents where there do not even exist adequate conditions for storing medicine.  Nevertheless, this month of June will be “the month of missions” with the launch and “re-launch” of social programs to buy votes and bully hopes.

Of all this, the worst is that while they send thousands of Cuban doctors abroad, domestic health is neglected.  Some days ago, the health and epidemiological group from Havana City issued an alert that they have tried to hide; but however much they persist in regulating the contents of the national press under constant censorship; “when the press shuts up, the walls speak.”  It is rumored in the halls of the Ministry of Public Health about the recent detection of at least two cases of an illness that many years ago was eradicated on the Island, rabies in humans transmitted by ferrets, bats, and/or stray dogs.

When I say it; the Revolution’s book should be entitled “55 Years of Lies and Perversion.”

Translated by mlk.

9 June 2014