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April Saturday

Cuban health VS US blockade, a six-decade-long struggle

HAVANA, Cuba, Mar 29 (ACN) For almost six decades the Cuban people have been battling against the worst economic blockade that any nation has ever known: the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States.

Since its entry into force in 1962, this U.S. meddling policy has caused billions of dollars in damage to Cuba's development in all sectors, but undoubtedly, the Cuban health system tops the list of those most affected by the limitations imposed by Washington.

These limitations, far from halting the progress of Cuban science and health, have led Cuban professionals to achieve great feats in terms of innovation and technology at the service of society, especially in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of this process, today there are irrefutable achievements of Cuban science, such as the existence of five vaccine candidates for the confrontation of COVID-19, as well as others for the benefit of all sectors of the nation, such as the creation of high-tech companies, science and technology parks and interface companies in universities.

Public Health, a priority sector for the Cuban government, has received a substantial impact due to this unilateral policy, and despite this, considerable efforts have been made by the government of the island to guarantee access, free and quality care, protection and recovery services to all citizens.

According to the latest annual report "Necessity of putting an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States of America against Cuba", the accumulated damages during 60 years amount to 3.074 billion dollars only in the health sector.

Likewise, from April 2019 to March 2020, it caused losses in that sphere in the order of 160, 260,880 million dollars.

But, beyond the numbers, what does the blockade mean for the Cuban health sector?

The blockade denies access to medical technologies of U.S. origin or with more than 10 % of components from that country, a situation reflected, for example, in the denial of access to pulmonary ventilators, essential for the treatment of COVID-19.

In view of this limitation, Combiomed, a Cuban digital medical technology company, is working on the forthcoming launch of the prototype of a domestically produced high-performance lung ventilator.

Likewise, the Center for Immunoassay (CIE), developed last year, in just six weeks, a novel system for the diagnosis of COVID-19, based on the SUMA technology (Ultramicroanalytical System).

To face this situation, Cuban science has always defended life; when medicines against cancer were denied, Vidatox, made with scorpion venom, was born; when the doors were closed to first world vaccines, Cuban science unveiled five anti-COVID-19 vaccine candidates: Soberana 01, Soberana 02, Soberana Plus, Mambisa and Abdala.

On the other hand, the U.S. government, with its decision to attack Cuban medical cooperation, has denied more than 67 million people the opportunity to receive free medical care from Cuban professionals, due to the affectations caused to bilateral agreements signed by Cuba with several countries, especially in the Americas.

Despite the brutal campaign unleashed against the island's collaboration, the Cuban health prpfessionals have fought against COVID-19 in African, American and European countries, as part of the Henry Reeve Internationalist contingent, created by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro in 2005.

In spite of the terrible consequences of the blockade, Cuba has never been alone in its battle for justice and in the international arena dozens of nations support every year the Cuban resolution against this policy, whose accumulated damages throughout its application reach the figure of 144.413 billion dollars.

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