Cuba to Chair World Health Summit Print

Cuba will chair, for the first time, the 6th World Heath Summit, taking place May 19-24, 2015, in Geneva, the Cuban Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) recently announced.

Dr. Antonio González, head of MINSAP's department of international organizations, explained that Cuba has been chosen in large part because of the results and impact of its health initiatives, within the country and internationally.

Cuba has achieved virtually all of the UN's Millennium Development Goals. The infant mortality rate in 2013 was 4.2 for every 1,000 live births, the lowest in the Americas -- including the U.S. and Canada; the rate of maternal mortality was 21 per 1,000, one of the lowest in Latin America, he said.

In addition, Cuba has been able to control AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria epidemics, Dr. González pointed out, adding that AIDS is not an epidemiological problem as in other countries, and anti-retroviral medicines are available to those who need them. Regarding malaria, Cuba was acknowledged by the World Health Organization (WHO) for having eradicated it during the 1960s, he explained.

Through vaccination campaigns, Cuba has been able to eradicate other transmittable illnesses such as polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, neonatal tetanus and rubella, with a vaccination regimen designed to protect against 13 diseases, said Dr. González.

Dr. González -- who will be presiding over the conference -- said that the Summit's agenda was prepared in February 2013, by the WHO 134th Executive Council, which includes 34 countries throughout the world. He added that 67 issues and 17 resolutions will be under consideration, with two work commissions meeting, to discuss health techniques and administrative issues.

During the last visit to Cuba of WHO Director Dr. Margaret Chan, she described Cuba as an exemplary health care model. She praised the important contribution made by Cuban health workers abroad, and the country's efforts to train medical personnel from other countries, thus improving health indicators in those countries as well.