Drug and substance abuse has taken a higher toll in recent times. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has accounted that over 275 million between 15-64 years of age abuse drugs and substances at least once a day. The higher rates of drug and substance abuse have not been unconnected to ravaging consequences including 20 million substance-induced disability and 8.6 million deaths with 160,235 and 145, 565 deaths caused by drug and alcohol respectively. As more people engage in drug and substance abuse, the rate of addiction has also gone up; birthing the need for proactive drug rehabilitation activities. In drug rehabilitation excellence, Cuba has earned a good mark.
Diego Maradona the great told his lawyers and families to return him to Cuba to continue his rehab activities. The story of the sports legend’s drug addiction topped the news in the 1900s and 2000s. After the suspension from the Italian League in 1991 and the 1994 World Cup, Maradona resumed rehab in Cuba in 2000. The sports star said he was convinced of getting rehab in the Island nation by the belief of the revolutionary, Fidel Castro and Ernesto Guevara known for fighting for revolution in Cuba and leading as a communist leader. Another reason Maradona chose Cuba was because of privacy. He indicated in his interviews in Cuba that in the Island nation, he had more privacy and could work about without having reporters flock around him trying to monitor his rehab process. He considered the heavy presence of reporters in his Argentine rehab place as unnecessary and disturbing. The remarkable thing about the first-class rehab provided to Maradona is that Cuban rehab facilities are top medical industry standard and can take in global leaders, world-class celebs and individuals seeking quality rehab programs.
The rehab program in Cuba includes a three-month rehabilitation with a focus on cognitive behavior and community regime therapies. The rehab includes a behavioral approach that allows patients to develop mechanisms of social control which are needed to repel the attraction to, ‘hard drug, alcohol, and substances. Also, community regime therapy is used. The therapy indicates that patients will live with co-visitors, share ideas with them, express frustrations and aspirations with them. The therapy’s target is ensuring full recovery through inter-persons engagement and communication. The Cuba rehab program runs for three months and at the end of the program, verification and evaluation will be done. The program includes feeding, medical examinations, electrocardiogram, blood tests, clinical and physical treatment, accommodation, psychotherapy, physiotherapy and recreational engagement. The Cuban rehab is one of its kind and widely known globally for effectiveness. The effectiveness depends on the top-rated medical facilities in Cuba; including the oxygen hookup, electronic bed, equipment for those with disabilities, nursing care, well-equipped individual bathroom, fast internet access, laundry and telephonic services. Language translation (Spanish/English) is also provided for guardians of the patients to aid effective communication all through the program.
The Cuban Rehab Approach
The history of drug rehab in Cuba dates back to the 1970s when the famous Ricardo A. Gonzales established the first medical center for treating substance abuse in Cuba. The medical centers became 15 in a short time and attracted the top crop of people from leading sectors in the world to Cuba. Rehab program for treating drug and substance addiction in Cuba has since been based on ‘Cuban approach’ which has not only proven to be efficacious and result-based but also pronounced in the successful treatment of Diego Maradona in Cuba. The approach has been highly used for successful rehab programs in Cuba; being one of the highlights of Cuban medical tourism popular on the global scene. The Cuban approach to rehab is carrying out detoxification and rehabilitation using therapies in serene and natural environments. High profile medical experts are engaged in implementing top-industry medicine and rehabilitative skills. The experts also conduct formative and summative evaluations for the rehab participants to monitor recovery progress. Also, the approach includes allowing patients to talk with others to improve their psychosocial balance and free their minds. The patient undergoes rehabilitation for behavioral changes to overcome addiction. Skills and strategies for coping with cravings, adapting to healthy behaviors, developing intelligence for acceptance and rejection, and controlling withdrawal symptoms.
A multidisciplinary approach is also engaged in Cuba to address the complexity of drug and substance addiction. Multidisciplinary experts are assembled to give rehab patients world-class services in Cuba. The experts include neurologists, psychologists, nurses, medical specialists, and psychiatrists working as a team to give patient-centric rehab services. The multidisciplinary approach is more effective because medical experts in collaborating branches of medicine pool their expertise and intelligence together in ensuring that patients are freed from addiction. Addiction treatment is more psychological and thus the approach isn’t one-way, unlike other medical services. The team identifies what level of damage the addiction has caused and begins to teach adaptive behaviors to break away while also using treatment to correct observable anomalies. The diagnosis from each expert will create a smooth rehab direction that will yield quality behavior-changing treatment for the patient. The recommendation from the experts creates a window for each member of the team to participate in integrative therapies for the patients rather than disjointed and isolated rehab care. Using the Cuban approach of naturality and community therapy coupled with the multidisciplinary approach has positioned rehab care in Cuba on a golden pedestal in global ranking; making Cuba a priority place for treating drug and drink addiction.
North American Rehab Program vs Cuban Rehab Program
The North American rehab programs depend on an individualistic approach. The approach is applicable when rehab patients are given personalized services and not a kind of community regime therapy as it is done in Cuba. The approach is integrated into medical detox and patients can opt for in-facility or home services. The North American rehab approach is flexible and is easily customized to accommodate patients’ differences to bring about effective behavioral changes. Natural coping skills and strategies are also used at the North American rehab programs and this has proven effective because patients can get freedom from drug or alcohol addiction without resorting to drugs. The programs combine human nutrition, yoga services, gardens for meditation, massage, bio-sound therapies, and acupuncture to arrive at a lasting addiction-free treatment. Leading medical experts are engaged in rehab services in North America and they provide effective services from time to time. However, getting rehab treatment in North America costs as high as paying $18,000 for a single-track treatment. In rehabilitative treatment, experts have suggested that patients are likely to recover more on a single-track rehab than a mixed one thus when a patient doesn’t recover at the end of a rehab track, such an individual will have to start all over again—a fresh rehab program. Starting a new rehab program will help the experts working on the case make new diagnoses and adapt strategies for improvement where needed. The point is, rehab service in North America is expensive and not designed for the middle class and average individuals.
The rising death rates and psychological disorders are taking tolls on the lives of people especially the youths and young adults. Thus, affordable and quality rehab is needed to improve lives and correct the increasing anomalies resulting from drug, alcohol, and substance abuse. Unlike North America, Cuba offers specialized rehab programs for addiction and is considerably cheaper and more effective than the services provided in North America. With $26,000, you’ll get a world-class rehab service in Cuba including therapies led by medical industry leaders of ground-breaking research orientation. Cuba’s cost of rehab services isn’t up to 15 percent of what’s obtainable in North America and far outweighs the individual approach rehab programs provided there. Cuba’s record of successful treatment of Diego Maradona has placed the country higher than other countries in a track record of excellence in rehab programs. The cost-effectiveness makes Cuban rehab programs outstanding and easily accessible to individuals and communities.
Also, Cuba offers clean rehab programs free of unethical practices as they apply in North America. Some addiction treating centers in North America operate without a license and run body brokering. Brokering means they take in drug addicts in the guise of giving assisted medical treatments to them and instead, use them for profit-making. Some centers go as high as selling the pee of patients in thousands of dollars and implanting harmful drugs in them. These unethical practices are dangerous and may ruin the integrity of medical practice. In Cuba, only licensed medical centers are allowed to operate by the authorities. Cuba makes a safe addiction treating environment for patients because they do not have to fear getting worse or losing their lives while on the program.
Getting treated for drug and drink addiction requires trust. In Cuba, rehab participants are put at the center of the treatment and tended with utmost trust. Participants are not used for drug racketeering and they consent before the program starts; luring or coercing does not obtain.
Orthopedic is the area of medicine that involves caring for the musculoskeletal body system. The medical area focuses on bones, tendons, ligaments and joints treatment. An orthopedist is a specialist who deals in orthopedics and combines surgical and non-surgical approaches to treating musculoskeletal difficulties including back and joint problems, bone fractures, soft tissue injuries, neck pain, shoulder pain and congenital abnormalities such as scoliosis and clubfoot.
Orthopedic surgery is the medical operative performance on the body musculoskeletal system including the tendons, muscles, bones, joints and ligaments. Orthopedic surgery bifurcates into three with an arthroscopic approach which is described as faster and painless and the traditional approach which currently competes with the former. The surgery type includes joint replacement procedures which are processes of replacing injured joints with prosthetics through possible surgical operations. The joint operation involves surgically replacing knees and hips with proper care before and after the medical procedures. Revision joint surgery is the next with care for a failed surgical implant or when the implant becomes defective. Fusion of the spine, bone and soft tissue repair is the other type of orthopedic surgery which are undertaken by skilled orthopedic surgeons.
Sporting and recreational activities are becoming highly recommended for individuals to sustain a good living. Many have taken to the recommendation and this has caused an increase in recreational engagements and reported low risks of cardiovascular diseases associated with non-exercising lifestyles. However, the consequences of high sporting activities have been in some quarters, injuries. Beyond sports and recreational engagements, accidents have been a major cause of orthopedic disorders including concussion, a severe brain injury, whiplash, a neck injury, bone fractures, muscle strains, back injuries, and spinal challenges. It’s also possible to suffer any of these disorders at home when involved in domestic accidents. However, despite the rise in orthopedic disorders, people still struggle to get perfect surgeries and treatment and, in some cases, may end up with revision joint surgery. This is because the earlier surgery they had failed and became a source of the problem. To avoid such occurrences, the Cuban medical system has developed treatment procedures with top-rated orthopedic experts to handle orthopedic disorders.
Orthopedic Programs in Cuba
World-class orthopedic hospitals with 24/7 services are readily available in Cuba. The medical centers combine leading orthopedic experts with tech-based tools and efficient human resources to giving top-notch medical treatment and complication-free orthopedic surgery. The medical centers include:
Frank Pais Orthopedic Hospital: Frank Orthopedic center is a globally-ranked hospital that deals in patient-focused musculoskeletal treatments. The hospital is located in La Lisa, Havana and homes the prestigious Latin America School of Orthopedics and Traumatology. The center specifically deals in rehabilitative surgery, orthopedic treatment and surgery and correctional procedures of the musculoskeletal system. The center is led by one of the best orthopedic surgeons in Cuba, Prof. Rodrigo Alvarez, M.D Ph.D. The director works with a choice of leading medical experts at the center and makes records of breakthrough surgeries consistently. Frank Pais Orthopedic hospital is a top destination for anyone seeking spinal or skeletal surgery and care because the center combines modern medical technologies, center-manufactured accessories with professional orthopedics to give result-yielding treatment for spine, tissue, neuro injuries and paralysis. The center specializes in pseudarthrosis, spinal diseases, reconstructive surgeries, spinal cord injury paralysis, bone enlargement, revascularization, fractures and rehabilitation.
Cira Garcia:Cira Garcia is a Cuban medical institute that provides high-class medical services to individuals especially with international repute and recognition in the business world. The center gives detailed testing, treatment and surgery to diplomats, businessmen and individuals in need of quality health services in a world-class facility. Cira Garcia specializes in attending to the medical needs of foreigners as well as Cubans who desire complication-free treatment and medical guidance. The center has a guaranteed security system that ranks high in Cuba with a track record of in-and-out efficient facility security system for patients and their relatives. Cira Garcia is certified by Bureau Veritas and deals in surgeries, dentistry, rehabilitation and physical medicine. The center has licensed experts who command respect in the medical tourism in Cuba and work with modern surgical, scanning, and treating technologies.
Hospital Hermanos Ameijeiras:The Hospital Quirurgico also known as the Hospital Hermanos Ameijeira has over 40 years of medical excellence records. The center which was commissioned by Fidel Castro in 1982 has catalyzed medicine to becoming easily accessed, effective and public-oriented in Cuba. The hospital is one of the leading medical centers in the world with devoted attention, experts and resources to achieving maximal public health through responsive and people-centered testing, care, treatment and surgery. The center specializes in some of the expert-needing medical procedures including interventional endoscopy, microsurgery, imaging, extracorporeal lithotripsy, histological and cytological diagnosis and complex surgeries. Medical students at Hospital Hermanos Ameijeiras are taught in the areas of malignant diseases, minimally invasive surgery, organ and tissue transplant and clinical sciences.
Cuba is a global choice destination for orthopedic treatment and surgery because the country leads in medical and surgery services. The world-class ranking of Cuban medical services is premised on:
Affordable and quality treatment: Cuba offers affordable and quality health services on a world-rated basis. Receiving orthopedic treatment in Cuba comes at attainable rates and is easier to pay for when compared with other medical services globally. Treatment in Cuba lasts between two-week and two-month and over fifty thousand persons have benefitted from the professional medical care in the country. The Cuban health system prides in its well-trained orthopedic experts, effective drugs and human-centric musculoskeletal disorder treatments. The number of people seeking medical care in Cuba is a testament to the quality and affordability of health services in the Island nation. Orthopedics in Cuba work with concerns for their patients and administer safe and certified drugs for treatment. Cuban health system is ranked in the league of top global medical services alongside the United Kingdom, the United States and India.
Global medical expertise:Cuba prides on its world-rated medical expertise in orthopedics. Patients from over forty countries have a record of successful treatment in Cuba with effective post-treatment guides and medicinal provisions. The Cuban government has invested in tech-based medical treatment and this affords orthopedic experts the opportunity of using technology resources for result-focused musculoskeletal disorder treatment. The adoption of tech tools in treatment and surgery support has created an overriding competition for traditional orthopedic and has made medical treatment of joint and spinal injury less complicated in Cuba.
World-class facilities:top-ranked medical centers in the world are recognized by the patient-doctor ratio, patients’ review and medical facilities available at the centers. Cuban health takes an upper position because global-rated medical facilities are readily available in health centers across the country. Cuba has a record of medical infrastructural development and the country has optimized technology for more patient-oriented orthopedic services that attract thousands of medical care seekers to the country. Cuba has integrated pharmaceutical discoveries, logistical advancement and practical-oriented orthopedic experts to providing one of the best orthopedic treatments globally. The integration is regarded as the national science of Havana and tops among medical contemporaries in the world.
Breakthrough records: rising records of successful orthopedic treatment positions Cuba as a go-to country when it comes to orthopedic treatment and surgery. Although, Cuba’s economy was previously challenged by international trade differences. Cuban government initiative has helped the nation move beyond once-backward in economies to becoming the leading medical nation in the world. The government has invested in medical scholarship and has allowed medical-passionate individuals from low-income backgrounds to access medical education for free. The result of medical scholarship in Cuba has been a record availability of medical experts and surgeons and their availability has translated to increasing medical breakthroughs especially in the orthopedic branch of medicine.
Country-wide COVID-19: Amidst the resurging COVID-19 cases and situations in different countries of the world, it is required to seek medical attention in a safe country, safe hospital and from safe medical practitioners. With an overall record of five successful COVID-19 vaccines production, the Cuban government has been able to cater for majority vaccination in the country using a country-wide approach. The mass vaccination method implemented in Cuba has helped reduce the prevalence of coronavirus in the country and this charts a good line and direction for medical tourism. It’s right to say Cuba is a safe country to seek medical treatment and high-value surgery without complications. Traveling, isolation and vaccination protocols in the country are well regulated and human-centered with no racial differences.
Global Collaboration: Cuba is investing in medical resources and surgical technologies with consistent alliances with international groups. A project initiated in Cuba in 2016 has been implemented in Cuba for a modern orthopedic treatment. The alliance is between Ottobock, a German company and Cuba and it’s focused on increasing access to orthopedic treatment and surgery knowledge for experts and providing affordable and quality orthopedic care and services for patients on a large scale in Cuba. The initiative has been approved by the Ministry of Public Health in Cuba and this has resulted in scalable improvement in the implant of the prosthesis and orthopedic technologies modernization. Orthopedic experts have been taken through seminars and practical for the use of the world-class medical equipment provided through the international alliance. While the German company provides top-class orthopedic equipment, Cuba incorporates locally manufactured prostheses and orthopedic facilities in attending to orthopedic cases in the country.
Injuries from sports and accidents are common sources of fractures, dislocations and musculoskeletal disorders. There are cases when other ailments in the body may jeopardize the effective functioning of the spinal system of the body. What is required in such cases is immediate medical attention. Also, musculoskeletal disorders require care and attention from an industry expert in medicine. However, not all medical centers have the human and medical resources to attend to orthopedic cases. To get an effective and complication-free orthopedic treatment and surgery, Cuba is the right destination. Cuba has top-ranked orthopedic centers with surgeons and experts with years of excellent medical practice and experience. The travel costs and protocols are friendly and rehabilitative procedures are also provided to patients.
Often, people generalize concepts in the ophthalmology branch of medicine; Ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians are regularly used as one. However, the concepts differ. Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine that involves caring for the eye. A medical doctor in the ophthalmology practice is identified as an ophthalmologist. The doctor must have completed six-eight years of studies in medicine and have been licensed to practice. The doctor is qualified after training and license to treat various eye diseases and may also engage in research on visual ailments and cures. An optometrist on the other hand isn’t a medical doctor but a healthcare professional who deals in visual testing, treatment and correction. An optician is a technical professional who deals in designing, verifying and fitting lenses for eye patients. An optician doesn’t test the patient but supplies eye wears based on the recommendations from the ophthalmologist.
Becoming an ophthalmologist requires six-eight years of study. The study usually involves spending some years in college, earning a medical degree, spending some months for residency and getting the license to practice as a medical doctor. Ophthalmologists by profession can choose to study more and specialize in certain subareas in ophthalmology. The subareas include learning to care for the cornea, uveitis, refractive surgery, neuro-ophthalmology, pediatrics, ocular oncology and reconstructive surgery. Studying ophthalmology is however different in Cuba with medical students spending five to six years on the program. The difference is also noted in the program costs and availability of facilities for medical teachers and students in the country. Cuba has become positioned on a top class in the league of countries with sophisticated systems and capacity in the world and now ranks alongside the United Kingdom, the United States and India in global medical excellence. Cuba has become a household name for global medical tourism and ophthalmology is an essential part of medicine practiced in the island nation.
Cuba’s progress in the field of ophthalmology
The Cuban government has invested in the development of medicine in the country. Medical schools are provided resources and intervention funds. The regular tracking of the progress of medical students has helped strengthened medical performance and achievement in Cuba. Cuban ophthalmology program involves the diagnosis, treatment, surgery and care for the eye using modern technologies in world-class facilities. The level of industry-standard medical facilities and facilitators in Cuba has earned the country global respect and increased patronage in medical tourism. Successful surgeries have been conducted and the success has become a testament that attracts patients from foreign countries to seek medical care in the country. Eye surgery and eye care are majorly handled in Cuba by medical doctors with years of experience. Ophthalmology practice in Cuba is regulated by the Ministry of Health of Cuba and only licensed professionals are permitted to practice medicine in the country.
The Leading Ophthalmology Center in Cuba
Ramon Pando Ferrer Cuban Institute of Ophthalmology: RPFCI is an ophthalmology center established in 1956 in Cuba and has gone to become of the leading medical centers in the world. The institute is focused on the treatment of visual diseases with special care for low vision and blindness. Ramon Pando Ferrer Institute with its over 50 years of existence has achieved huge milestones in eye care, surgery and corrective visual procedures in Cuba. The institute has become globally renowned in retina treatment and cares for ‘macular and vitreoretinal diseases.’ The Institute is well known for its excellent records in Nero-ophthalmology and the testing and treatment of optical nerve conditions including surgical procedures. The Institute specializes in treating inflammation conditions of the eye, uveitis, treating of severe eye inflammation, and the application of surgical procedures for eye care and treatment. The Institute prides itself on refractive surgeries, cornea diagnosis and management, treatment of keratoconus, and cornea transplant where it has gained unmatched recognition for complications-free corrections and treatments globally. The Institute also treats visual disorders from birth including eyelid, lacrimal ducts, tumors and stenosis from birth. The Institute has projected the Cuban government’s efforts in caring for blindness using the integration of local medical knowledge and modern technological facilities. The milestones achieved by the Institute in eye care and treatment are positioning Cuba for greater medical tourism and medical education.
Why eye care, surgery and treatment in Cuba
Quality and affordable medical care: 3,500 foreigners land in Cuba annually to seek medical attention because it’s affordable than medical treatment in the United States of America. Medical experts in Cuba testify to the progressive inflow of international patients seeking ophthalmology care and treatment. Cuba has a record of cheap medical care dated as back as 1999 when rhinoplasty was $1,300 in the US and $1,700 Cira Garcia in Cuba and abdominoplasty cost $4198 in the US and $2340 in Cuba. The quality-oriented medical services in Cuba have testaments of excellence and the cost variation between the island country and the US has not in any way affected the quality. The quality of ophthalmology services in Cuba draws patients to medical centers in the country from the Caribbean and Latin America and Finland and Japan even though they are far away.
People-based medical care: Cuban health system is centered on providing basic health care to Cubans as part of the fundamental responsibilities of the government. The revolutionary advances in medical care in Cuba are testaments of Fidel Castro’s legacies in the country. The legacies have attracted the establishment of many medical centers which all contribute to the vision of improving access to medical care in Cuba. Beyond Cuba, Castro’s vision helps to extend standard medical care to other countries as a means of promoting peace and development. The years and the progressive nature of medical tourism in the country have been aligned to the overall vision and Cubans and foreign nationals benefit from Cuba’s promotion of medical care access to individuals.
Contained COVID-19: One of the key factors to consider before choosing a country for medical care is the level of coronavirus containment in the country. The global pandemic has disrupted the physical flow of activities including the medical line and new normal is just returning to many countries. It’s thus considered essential to know the COVID-19 containment level of a country before deciding to seek medical attention in the country. In Cuba, COVID-19 has been contained effectively with a record of over 60 percent population vaccination. Cuba has devised medical innovation and ingenuity to manufacture five COVID-19 vaccines and the production has improved mass vaccination in the country. The availability of the vaccines has helped restore physical activities in different sectors of Cuban economy as well as its medical sector. The Cuban government ensures adequate quarantine for foreigners seeking medical care and this helps to identify those who might have contacted the virus before getting into the country. Also, beyond quarantine, there’s consistent monitoring of the inflow and outflow of medical care seekers in Cuba by designated government officials and this contributes to maximal containment of coronavirus in the country. Seeking medical attention in Cuba is safe because medical practitioners are fully vaccinated, and regularly adhere to COVID-19 rules and protocols in receiving and attending to patients. The effective containment of COVID-19 in Cuba places the island nation in the league of countries that have recorded such tremendous feats including the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany.
High availability of medical experts: Cuba leads in ophthalmology care because there’s a growing potential and advancement in the medical space in the country. Medical doctors are massively available and getting medical attention doesn’t require having to queue. Cuban government’s investment in medicine is playing out well as medical universities in the country allow medical students to learn by practice and provide medical services while competently turning out well-trained doctors annually. The inclusion of medical scholarship in the Cuban medical curriculum has helped to attract the best minds to the discipline and this has translated into massive graduation of medical students into the medical profession and practice in the country. Specialists in subareas of ophthalmology are available in Cuba and getting eye care treatment and surgery of all kinds has become seamless and more effective because of the high numbers of medical doctors available to provide medical services. Medical experts in Cuba are effectively implementing the outcomes of medical research. The implementation has reduced dependence on traditional techniques but now on Cuban manufactured technologies, and drugs.
Accessing ophthalmology care is sensitive just as the visual system of the body. The eye isn’t available for trial and error and as such requires medical experts with proven track records to treat and operate as the case may be. In providing eye care, treatment and surgery, Cuba has reached a huge milestone with over 50 years of effective medical services on global standards. The Ramon Pando Ferrer Cuban Institute of Ophthalmology is the leading ophthalmology center in Cuba with excellent surgery and eye care records and testaments from Cuban and foreign nationals. The Institute has world-class eye –treating facilities and top-rated ophthalmologists who are actively attending to patients and also researching in diverse subareas of ophthalmology to improve medical excellence and care.
The University of Medical Sciences of Havana is a first-class medical institution in Cuba with specialization in universally recognized medicines. The University also known as Universidad de Ciencias Medicas de la Habana (UCHM) tops all medical schools in Cuba and is identified as a leading medical institution on a global standard. The medical institution has world-class faculties and facilities including the Latin American School of Medicine (Escula Latinoamericana de Medicina), Faculty of Medical Sciences of Holguin, and Mariana Grajales (Facultad de Ciencias Medicas de Holguin, Mariana Grajales). The faculty offers programs in graduate and post-graduate studies. The University has 12 faculties including nine medical sciences, one stomatology, one nursing and one health technology.
The University of Medical Sciences in Havana has a longstanding record of academic and medical excellence. The institution positions state-of-the-art facilities to engage students and trains them for professional competencies. The history of medical education in Cuba has a rich developmental structure although it started on a not-so-popular scale. The central-eastern part of Cuba is identified as the origin of medical education In Cuba. The medical program began in 1968 in Camaguey with three students coming to the eastern location from the University of Havana. Cuba has since that time grow to become a leading country in the sphere of medicine in the world. The Cuban government has improved on medical scholarship and this has influenced the growth of medicinal discoveries, pharmaceutical progress and surgical prowess of medical students and practitioners in the country. The curriculum in the University of Medical Sciences has been approved by the National Accreditation in Cuba and recognized globally. The recognition is premised on the testaments of over 13,000 graduates of the school and specialties ranging from dentistry, psychology, nursing, medicine and surgery and health technology. The University welcomes foreign students and has a suitable and non-discriminatory learning environment for them. Over a thousand foreigners currently study in Cuba at the University of Medical Sciences. The institution has and welcomes students from 52 countries.
The University of Medical Sciences Colleges/Faculties
The University of Medical Sciences Havana’s primary role is teaching and training students to become locally resourceful medical practitioners and positioning them for global relevance. Students are trained in medicine, dentistry, psychology, surgery in both undergraduate and graduate programs and are offered diplomas, masters and doctorates depending on their programs. The University has 8,000 staff and over 21,000 students’ capacity and the faculty members engage in research and community development as contributions to knowledge in the field of education. The University’s high-ranked colleges include:
Raul Gonzales Sanchez Faculty (Dentistry): The Raul Gonzales Sanchez Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Medical Sciences Havana is a top-ranked faculty with leading medical scholars, medical resources and a growing population of medical students from within and outside Cuba. The faculty has achieved long-standing excellence in medical teaching, research and community development. Students are trained in dentistry through scalable models and well-regulated medical curriculum that’s student-centered. The Faculty covers areas including comprehensive general dentistry and specialized areas in dentistry which are sectioned into departments. The departments at the Raul Gonzales Sanchez Faculty includes the Periodontics, Prosthodontics, and the general dentistry department. The departments collaborate for teaching, research and community development projects. Students are by the provision of the curriculum mandated to go for compulsory medical outreach under the supervision of the academic staff of the Faculty. The outreach is one of the areas through which the Faculty and the University of Medical Sciences Havana contribute to widening medical access and reach to Cubans especially in the local communities. The Faculty of Raul Gonzales Sanchez has recorded 581 publications and 175 projects making it an outstanding faculty of global repute. The publications have been majorly peer-reviewed and students are also engaged in the research and publication processes to give them sufficient medical scholarship orientation and exposure. Seminars, practical and workshops are the registered procedures for facilitating instructions and preparing students for full-scale dental profession at the Faculty of Raul Gonzales Sanchez.
Miguel Enriquez Faculty of Medical Sciences: The Miguel Enriquez Faculty of Medical Sciences is a top-ranked faculty of the University of Medical Sciences, Havana in Cuba. The Faculty is named after the eminent Miguel Enriquez who has achieved exceeding feats in obstetrics and medical practice. The Faculty is specially located at the Diez de Octubre municipality and prides on its high-achieving student population and medical facilitators. The Miguel Enriquez Faculty started medical training in 2001 and has since graduated 175 medical students of the Latin American descent with over 654 enrolment from different nationalities. The Faculty is focused on training medical professionals in emerging medical areas and challenges. The Faculty is well-grounded in consistent medical teaching and research and this has translated to continuous excellence in teaching and research. Students are also trained human resources in the aspect of health at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The Faculty contributes to community development through its social responsibility of affording medical care and treatment to people especially those at the grassroots. Testing, imaging, and accessible medical care are provided to people and students are able to learn through this avenue. The Miguel Enriquez Faculty of Medical Sciences tops in Cuba and has attracted values to the University of Medical Sciences in Havana through its global standard teaching and learning modules, affordability of study and quality healthcare. The Faculty includes departmental areas such as scientific productivity, technical science, technical medical research and medical clinical trials. The Miguel Enriquez Faculty welcomes students from Cuba and foreign countries; student-friendly regulations are put in place to allow students easily move into Cuba and study to attain medical excellence.
Victoria de Giron Institute of Basic and Preclinical Sciences:
The Victoria de Giron Institute of Basic and Preclinical Sciences is a reputed faculty of basic medical sciences at the University of Medical Sciences, Havana. The Institute is a product of Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionist and has since its establishment in 1962 grown to become one of the most sought-after medical institutes in the world. The medical institute currently has over 6,000 foreign students studying medicine, dentistry, health technology and nursing; making it one of the top institutions in Cuba with the highest foreign students’ population. The Victoria de Giron Institute has formed a strong teaching, research and medical alliance with leading medical experts and technology-oriented countries. The Institute presently operates nine projects in seven countries and maintains 22 agreements with 14 countries. The world-class medical institute, Victoria de Giron allows students to learn medicine with modern technologies and equipment with instructional facilitation from high-flying medical experts of international scholarly recognition and records. Students at the Institute learn on scholarship, self-funding or sponsorship from the government. The faculty promotes unity in diversity by ensuring adequate collaboration and interaction among foreign students and Cuban nationals. The Institute leads in numerical strengths and program plurality with over 4,000 students studying in 62 special areas of medical sciences in Cuba. The Institute runs both undergraduate and graduate programs and is regulated by the Ministry of Higher Education.
The University of Medical Sciences, Havana has other faculties covering special areas of medicine and nursing including the Calixto Garcia Medical Sciences, Dr. Salvador Allende Faculty, Finlay-Albarran Faculty of Medical Sciences, Julio Trigo Faculty of Medical Sciences, Manuel Fajardo Rivero Faculty and the Lidia Doce Faculty of Nursing; all welcome local and foreign students for seasoned and comprehensive medical education.
Why Study Medicine in Cuba
Pragmatic medical teaching: Cuban medical Colleges pride themselves on their pragmatic teaching approach. Medical students are allowed to start practice-based learning from the first year in the University. Students are not first subjected to rigorous theory memorization but trained through active implementation of knowledge in practical The community learning method is used in Cuban medical schools and this allows students through the supervision of college teachers to carry out consultations and medical checks on the locals. The incorporation of immediate medical practice into the Cuban medical education system has distinguished it globally.
World-class medical facilities: Cuba is a leading country in medical tourism and makes an annual major return from the practice. One of the qualities that attract thousands of people to Cuba for medical care is the availability of experts and globally-ranked medical facilities. High-profile surgeries and treatments are provided in the country. The availability of medical experts and resources makes a good learning condition for the students. They interact with medical scholars, benefit from medical publications and have access to medical equipment for practice.
Affordability and quality: The Cuban government provides medical scholarships to students from low-income families. The scholarship allows students to study medicine for six years and practice in the country upon graduation. Foreign students are also provided the scholarship and the fee is affordable in case a scholarship isn’t provided. Cuban government supports medical education. This makes medical programs in Cuba quality-oriented. Human and material resources are regularly provided and this helps medical schools in Cuba to stay on top and relevant in global human medicine.
Cuba is a choice destination to study medicine. The country offers medical programs in general medicine, stomatology, surgeries, orthopedics, ophthalmology, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing and medical sciences. Cuban medical schools are making waves beyond the island country and are now rated for excellence on international standards. Cuban medical schools are ranked in the league of leading medical schools in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and India. Pragmatic medical teaching, world-class medical facilities and industry-rated medical facilitators and affordable costs are factors putting Cuban medical education on the global map.
Cuba is a West Indies country, the largest and most influential in the Caribbean region. The country is dominated by Arawakan speaking people and famous for raw sugar production. The country has overtime progressed in systems, institutions and people-based policies since it was claimed for Spain in 1492. The island of archipelago has a functional education structure and well systemized medical education which is not only leading in the Caribbean region but globally recognized.
Since inception of its medical education in 1999, Cuba has developed medical institutions with state of the heart infrastructure, medical resources and teaching-learning medical luminaries. Cuba tops among most sought after medical schools in the world and has earned a high badge in global ranking with Universidad de La Habana, Ciudad Universitaria Jose Antonio Encheverria, Universidad de Oriente Santiago de Cuba, Universidad de Cienfuegos Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina, Universidad de Ciencias Medicas de Villa Clara and Universidad de Ciencias Medicas de Cienfuegos leading in medical education. Cuba has an age long excellent record in medicine education and the 285 years of medical teaching has birthed over 100,000 professionally trained medical experts from 80 countries in the world.
The integrity and globally respected medical ingenuity in Cuba are demonstrated in the production of COVID-19 vaccines and its thorough administration in the island country. The Caribbean island produced Abdala, Soberana and Mambisa to prevent the prevalence of coronavirus. Cuba’s production of the vaccines becomes a testament to the high-flying medical experts and research ongoing on the island. The vaccine successful production helped Cuban authorities achieve low death rate at the full-blown virality of COVID-19; recording 146 deaths in 11.2 million country population.
Cuban medical schools are making high strides in cutting-edge research and result-focused learning because the country prioritizes education and authorities support intensive research especially in medical fronts. The freedom for scalable medical research in Cuba has been a consistent handling of epidemic and pandemic in the country which has gained worldwide recognition including endorsement from World Health Organization (WHO). Medical education in Cuba is practical-oriented and involves the integration of research-backed medical theories and principles into real-time and practice-supported medical teaching and learning.
Doctor of Medicine in Cuba
Training for the Doctor of Medicine in Cuba comes with attaining a Spanish proficiency for non-Spanish speakers. Students can take a proficiency test in Spanish to meet the language requirement. Spanish learning is foundational in Cuban medical school and useful for teaching, learning, interaction purposes at the medical school and graduate practice. The training for Doctor of Medicine in Cuba takes 6 years plus a one-year Spanish training for non-Spanish speakers. A bachelor degree in medicine prepares students for medical profession that is cherished beyond the Caribbean island. Cuba boasts of doctors in their hundreds who are on exchange programs in different countries including helping to widen medical reach in Brazil and Venezuela—the well-trained medical doctors from Cuba excel at these exchange programs mostly international. Cuba’s record of high-ranked medical education and schooling resources are traceable to the revolution of Fidel Castro which has remained a game changer in the history of the most influential country in the Caribbean region.
In noting the legacy of excellence in Cuba’s doctor of medicine program, a study conducted on Cuba-trained South African doctors showed that, the students turning doctors were exposed to the core of medicine and they had practical medical experiences in the program. Cuba’s medical education is considered useful for South Africa especially in rural health care, community medical reach, tuberculosis and HIV diagnosis and care.
Doctor of Medicine Curriculum in Cuba
The doctor of medicine program in Cuba progresses from the Family Doctor Programme dominated between 1980 and 1990 to the modern medical education curriculum. The Family Doctor Programme was centered around using individuals and members of the community to support medical teams. This idea of collective medicine was targeted at preventing diseases and responding to the growing medical demands in Cuba. Primary health care was at the fore of the educational design and a community-based medical structure was adopted. The implementation of neighborhood-centered medical system initiated the use of hubs for medical consultation attending to 20 to 40 patients. Social institutions were targets of the medical system and doctors were trained mainly for epidemic prevention and need-based treatment. Cuban’s medical system was overstretched and meeting the public medical demand was difficult.
To attend to the overbearing nature of medicinal need in Cuba, doctor of medicine curriculum was revised to cater more for the public and strengthen health institutions, facilitators and students in medical industry. The revised curriculum births the University Polyclinic Project.
The University Polyclinic Project began in 2003 and has transcended in achievement, the medical records of the prior ‘what and how’ of medical education in the country. PPU is a 6-year program that integrates general medicine into surgeries, primary health care, hospital management, basic sciences, clinical sciences, and morpho physiology. Morpho physiology is a combination of biomedical sciences which include molecular biology, physiology, anatomy, histology, embryology, and pathology among others. PPU has created a medical education that allows students move from one learning level to another; combining theories and practical, and practicing classroom knowledge on the field. Medical students are placed under medical tutors who supervise them as they practice medicinal skills in hospitals and health care centers; this has fast-tracked access to doctors in Cuba and grossly improved health and medical sustainability in Cuba. Updated and modern medical resources are utilized by seasoned medical teachers to bring medical students to real-time and globally-demanded medical skills. Students are trained with research intensive resources and tools including audios, videos, seminars, workshops, independent analysis and group studies. Pedagogic and language training are included in the final level of Cuba medical education; targeted at effective patient-doctor communication in practice.
The 6-year medical education under PPU in Cuba begins from morpho physiology to family medicine to philosophy and health, clinical medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, public health, traumatology, forensic medicine and surgery. The medical education structure has remained progressively strong and continues to put Cuba on the world map.
Why Cuba is the best Place for Medical Education
Cuban medical education creates space for all students to learn without fear or racial discrimination. The accommodation of all students without preferential treatment has placed Cuban medical schools in the to-go list among schools in the Caribbean region. Fidel Castro’s initiative of free medical education for Afro-indigenous and less privileged Americans has reformed the country’s education system and position it globally. Black and Latino students are admitted to Cuban medical schools on merits and they make up to 6 percent of annual medical graduates in the country. Cuba’s excellence in the doctor of medicine program is reflected in the pluralized access to medical care in the country—shown during the COVID-19 pandemic especially with rapid public enlightenment and vaccination. Cuban authorities delight in the medical system and education of the country because, the island country rivals the United States in life expectancy rate while having a lower child-mortality rate when compared with the US.
Cuba has built a long-standing reputation in strategically turning problems to solutions. Problem to solution repute of Cuba is seen in the authorities turning the US economic restrictions to medicinal and public health advantages. Rather than struggle due to inadequate access to medical facilities, Cuban authorities facilitated strengthened and early diagnosis for medical cases; helping to implement preventive measures in combating ailments. Cuba has a practical and solution-centric medical education system and this was during the pandemic where medical students were deployed for contact tracing and trained for vaccination. Engaging medical students for medical care during the pandemic shows how the country prioritizes hands-on learning in medicinal treatment.
Communities and rural areas in most countries have high record of less medical attention. The case is different in Cuba because rural settlements are centralized locations for medical practice and internships in Cuba. Rather than have students cluster in the urban, medical tutors allow students move from one house to another in specified community to reach out to people—as students gain wider medical experience from human and real practices, Cuban residents get effective and near-free access to medical care.
Dreaming of attaining medical education in a globally recognized institution? Then, Cuba is your right choice. The island country leads in doctor of medicine program that is people-centered and tops among contenders. Less privileged but diligent high performing students are catered for in Cuba with the Latin American Medical School that comes at no cost.
The world was definitely a very different place 60 years ago. Cuba, a small but proud country, was trying to find its position on the world’s map in times of geopolitical conflicts between the East and the West. Having a relatively small population compared to its neighbors, Cuba couldn’t hope to secure its position by investing in the military. Instead, they chose a different national diplomatic strategy and made an army of medical specialists. This approach has given Cuba a leading role in the battle for the world’s health up to this day. For 60 years, Cuba has been educating and deploying doctors all around the world to fight against diseases in underserviced areas. It all started with deploying health professionals in Chile after the devastating earthquake in 1960. Today, there are more than 4,000 Cuban health workers in 32 African countries fighting Ebola, cholera, tuberculosis, AIDS, and malaria.
The Cuban health education and training are based on a holistic approach focusing on a combination of healthcare, profound humanistic values, social justice, and community health. Because of this approach, Cuba has a life expectancy rate on par with the US, at the same time spending on healthcare 20 times less.
In 2014, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent a statement to the officials at the Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (ELAM) in Havana, hailing Cuba for training medical ‘Miracle Workers’ and being on frontlines of global health. In the statement, Secretary-General pointed out that ELAM did more than training doctors:
“I have seen it for myself. As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I travel to many difficult places; desperate places hit hard by earthquakes, hurricanes, or other natural disasters; remote places of deep deprivation; forgotten places far off many people’s radar of concerns. And so many times in these different communities, I have seen the same thing. Doctors from Cuba — or doctors trained in Cuba — helping and healing. Your doctors are with communities through thick and thin: before disasters strike, throughout crises and long after storms have passed. They are often the first to arrive and the last to leave. For those students who cannot come to Cuba, you are also helping to establish medical schools from Bolivia to Eritrea to Timor-Leste. ELAM has trained tens of thousands of students, but Cuba can teach the entire world about health care. I want to join so many others in saluting Cuba’s healthcare system, rooted in primary health care, which has yielded outstanding results — lower infant mortality, higher life expectancies, universal coverage. This is a model for many countries around the world. Through initiatives such as Operación Milagro, Cuban-trained doctors have saved or improved eyesight for millions of people in dozens of countries. You have helped them to see, but you have also given the world vision; a vision of generosity, solidarity, and global citizenship. I am very proud to see it for myself. And I thank you for sharing it with the world.”
Statement fully available at: https://www.un.org/press/en/2014/sgsm15619.doc.htm
Counting all medical training programs established by ELAM medical graduates, the Republic of Cuba has the world’s largest medical school. Currently, medical students from more than 100 countries all around the world are doing their medical training in Cuba.
The Cuban Medical Education Program
The program is modeled after the European medical schools. This means it would take a student six years to become a medical doctor in Cuba as opposed to 4 years of training in the US and Canada. In terms of knowledge, this means two extra years of clinical rotations under the supervision of medical professors. The medical school focuses on a wholesome approach: it addresses the biological, psychological, and social aspects of health and disease. Most of the time, a student is at the patient’s bedside and makes house-calls during the training. This way, the students get a unique perspective to healthcare – they learn to recognize and handle all challenges a doctor faces in everyday medical practice from top to bottom of the healthcare system.
The first-year studies involve basic methodology and integrated medicine courses. The second year of medical school is composed of anatomy, pathology, physiology, microbiology, genetics, in addition to psychological and social studies. During this time, a student learns about basic principles of human biology and psychology, fundamentals of healthcare system organization, and disease prevention — all that through the scope of data-driven and evidence-based approach.
In later years of training, students attend clinical rotations and start practicing medicine under the supervision of their professors.
During these six years, no student is left unattended. Professors are available 24/7, group sessions are a commonplace, and students are stimulated to collaborate on various projects during the training. This way, students learn to develop strong professional relationships, a high sense of belonging, and lifelong friendships with their colleagues and professors. In short, Cuban medical school promotes the universal approach where all benefit.
Students who want to pursue a medical career in the US, just like their peers in the US medical schools will have to pass the United States Medical Licensing Exam® (USMLE). In this regard, the Cuban medical graduates perform outstandingly. The US residents who studied medicine in Cuba achieve a match rate of 94%. In other words, sky is the limit for them. Furthermore, the Cuban medical educational institutions are approved by the “California State Medical Licensing Board,” the most stringent in the United States.
Cuban medical school delivers knowledge, and it seems they know how to make students acquire the knowledge. In terms of cost-effectiveness, it is not for free, but the entire medical training comes at a price that’s one-fifteenth of the price in the US. While the cost of the medical program in the US, which includes tuition, fees, books, and interest on loans, reaches up to $1,000,000.00, in Cuba, it is just $73,000. Let’s put it this way- medical training in the US requires about 8-10 annual specialist salaries. In Cuba, it costs 6-8 specialist monthly wages.
The social and cultural life of students during their education flourishes, and its uniqueness is almost unmatched. Cuba possesses rich cultural history adorned by astonishing architecture, but what really makes it stand out is its people, their customs and way of life. In that sense, this place can be described as Heaven on Earth. Cubans focus on what really matters in life – love, friendship, solidarity and unity. These days, there are not many places on the planet left where a person can learn about the values that make us humans. Cuba is one of those few spots for sure!
COVID-19 severely collapsed operational systems and health structures in different countries of the world. The pandemic started at a time the world was not ready and this worsened its effects on humans and the environment. It was a different case for countries with limited financial resources like Cuba because the economic backbone of the island state was disrupted. The disruptions were birthed by the closure of tourist centers, airports and other physical engagements. However, despite the unexpected nature of the health emergency, Cuban authorities were able to coordinate public health safety and put in place preventive and protective measures to deal with the pandemic.
The first case of COVID-19 was in Wuhan in China. The virus through human spread moved beyond China to internal communities and such to Cuba. The first coronavirus case in Cuba was confirmed on the 11th of March, 2020 after four Italians tourists tested positive to the virus (NBC, 2020). The early cases were predominant as they came at a time little or no guidelines had been put in place to contain coronavirus. The first four cases would later spread to 207,322 cases and 1,372 COVID-19 deaths in the island state (Worldometers, 2021). Cuba is a tourist-centric country and this informs the high rate of visitors coming in and out. The effect of the tourism-dependent nature of the country is evident in the early fast spread of the virus. Despite the early severity and widespread of coronavirus in Cuba, the containment level and national protocol were notable. They were notable because COVID-19 was professionally contained and public health safety was ensured by the authorities according to recognized international standards.
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COVID-19: National Protocol in Cuba
Cuba has a long-standing record and huge revenue base from tourism. In 2019, the country raked in 2.97 billion (US dollars) for its gross domestic product in tourism (Statista, 2021). This striking economic growth base came after Cuba recorded a decade history of highest contribution from tourism to the tune of 3 billion (US dollars). At the onset of the pandemic, Cuban authorities had the tough task of making decisions critical to the revenue base, human lives and the sustainability of the nation. It was a contest with an inevitable option of sacrificing one for the other; locking down the country to protect lives or continuing to receive visitors for increased revenue. Cuban authorities chose the latter—notably, in the interest of Cubans.
Travel Protocol during the Pandemic in Cuba
The first cases of COVID-19 in Cuba were discovered on tourists. Thus, the national protocol specially regulates traveling for containment and protection of lives in the country. The travel protocol includes:
“Travelers were mandated to present a negative result from a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before entering the country”;
“Health status of travelers must be declared and they were required to undergo a COVID-19 test on arrival to Cuba”;
“A 5-day compulsory isolation was mandated on all travelers entering the country in which the 5th day would be for PCR—the isolation was made free for Cuban nationals and residents while foreigners were expected to cover their expenses”;
“COVID-19 testing and sanitation must be paid for by all travelers entering the country in form of a health/sanitary tax”;
Importantly, nose masks were mandated for people in public spaces including airports and adherence to physical distancing was openly emphasized for travelers” (Gardaworld, 2021).
Cuban authorities essentially provided travel protocols in protecting residents and foreigners during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authorities restricted flight frequency for Cuba and placed a ban on non-essential transport and commercial activities. Group activities, recreational centers and physical businesses were included in the lockdown that was observed countrywide in Cuba (Gardaworld, 2021).
National Protocol during the Pandemic from Cuban Authorities
The United States sanction on Cuba for international finances and funding worsened the pandemic situation for the country. The sanction is evidently one of the back-drawing areas for Cuba as external trade and international services were limited in some form. The unsavory situation imposed on Cuba because of its financial not-well-to-do posed a great risk when the pandemic began. However, Cuba’s government handled the situation accountably and has set precedence for effective leadership. The national protocol for the pandemic includes an early training of medical workers, the preparation of medical students for contact tracing and reliably informing the public about the symptoms, precautions and steps to take when certain symptoms were observed (Morris and Kelman, 2020). Cuban authorities launched a full-scale contact tracing immediately the first three cases of COVID-19 were discovered in the country. Trained medical experts and students were mobilized for tracing contact persons and host cases; after which a structured, open-to-public COVID-19 testing commenced in Cuba.
Also, Cuba’s government announced a travel ban in March 20, 2021 after 21 confirmed coronavirus cases were recorded (Morris and Kelman, 2021). The government introduced a large-scale online buying and selling when physical distancing and the use of nose masks did not work well for the country. Public transport was also suspended and private vehicles were hired to commute essential workers (Morris and Kelman).
Vaccine Protocol and Vaccination in Cuba
Cuba’s government opted for a homegrown COVID-19 vaccine instead of importing from other countries. This decision came amidst tight criticisms from medical experts. However, authorities supported Cuban based production of COVID-19 vaccine. The question that arose at the heart of the pandemic was, can Cuba beat COVID-19 with its homegrown vaccines? After a three-phase clinical trial for Cuban coronavirus vaccines, Abdala and Soberana were produced, deployed for national use and validated by the World Health Organization (WHO). Abdala had a 92.8 percent efficacy while Soberana, a nasal administered vaccine recorded 62 percent efficacy. The country’s COVID-19 vaccine production leader, Verez Bencomo described the produced vaccines as, “results of independent streak reflecting the ingenious initiative of Cubans—a needed effort to contain the virus across the country” (Nature, 2021). To ensure that Cuban nationals were well catered for with the vaccines, five candidates were presented by the authorities through the biotechnologists and medical experts. The vaccines include Abdala, Soberana, and Mambisa.
The successful production of COVID-19 vaccine has helped in containing the virus in the communist-run island nation while also opening up novel revenue sources for the country through the exportation of vaccines. The vaccines, Abdala and Soberana have been announced efficacious and above the 50 percent World Health Organization (WHO) validation mark for vaccines. The efficacy validates the safe use of the vaccine. The increasing demand for the vaccine from other countries including Venezuela has proven the authorities right on homegrown production of coronavirus and has placed the island nation on a valuable pedestal in the comity of nations. Cuba is ranked fourth in the list of countries with the most effective COVID-19 vaccine—an extraordinary achievement considering the financial stand of the country before and at the onset of the pandemic.
Cuban authorities have been credited for early approval of diagnostics even before the first cases were recorded. Taylor (2021) reports that Cuba’s primary health care system was instrumental to containing the virus. The government ensured a public education on the virus, the causes and effects. The public education has also been found useful in converting people to taking the homegrown vaccines. Although, Cuba lacked certain medical materials to adequately contain the virus, the country made up by deploying well trained medical workers to take care of Cuba’s nationals and residents.
COVID-19 demanded immediate response as a global health emergency. Countries that found it tough to give a fast response to the pandemic recorded huge fatalities and have indelible marks from the unprecedented occurrence. In Cuba, a quick national response was given to protect the nationals and residents and contain the spread of coronavirus. For its national health protocol during the pandemic, Cuba authorities locked down the nation, banned travels in phases, adopted open health education on public safety and health care, and produced two globally recognized vaccines. The set protocol from Cuba’s government is exemplar and indicates a functional leadership in the country. Cuba has demonstrated a robust health protocol that is in tandem with the conditions of the citizens and thus, the wide acceptance of the vaccines was significant. The health protocol in Cuba during the pandemic included the suspension of tourism, closure of airport, closure of recreational centers, closure of businesses centers and the shift to online commercial activities. Cuba had a scheduled COVID-19 vaccination free for nationals and residents.
The COVID-19 pandemic began at an unprecedented time when humans, organizations and institutes were not prepared. Like the global cases and deaths, Cuba had a recurring cases and deaths totaling 70,000 and 408 respectively as at March 2021 (Yaffe, 2021). The severity of cases and the resulting deaths influenced the production of COVID-19 vaccine in Cuba. Among countries that made great efforts at seeing to safety, and the containment of coronavirus, Cuba played an intensive role in not only competing with top-tier countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and India among others; but also demonstrating an exceptional feat by the production of “Abdala” and “Soberana” vaccines for COVID-19.
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COVID-19 is viral disease that emanates from coronaviruses. The disease-causing virus was first discovered in Wuhan, China in 2019 but has since spread to other countries of the world including Cuba. Although, the virus is from the family of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and was in spread in 2002-2003, the latest variants have shown to cause severe respiratory disorders (Kandola, 2020). Thus, the virus is code-named, COVID-19.
The Abdala Vaccine
Cuban’s COVID-19 “Abdala” vaccine has been found with a 92.28 percent efficacy in combating coronavirus. The vaccine effectiveness declaration comes after the last-stage clinical trials made in the country (Frank, 2021). The vaccine’s potency is evident in the drastic reduction of coronavirus cases and deaths across the country. According to Cuban’s authorities, COVID-19 cases reduced by half after a country-wide vaccination in the country using “Abdala” (Frank, 2021). The vaccine production has been found sufficient as over 11.2 million Cubans are considered for vaccination—a huge stride considering the resources of the country.
Abdala, a coronavirus vaccine produced in Cuba was a rapid response to containing the virus. The rapidity in the vaccine’s development influenced the trial stages and the eventual manufacturing. The clinicals at the first stage showed that, “safety and reactogenicity profile of the immunogen was favorable for the two doses of the vaccine candidate”. In other words, the first stage of the trial was tested valid for immune efficacy (Santos, Martin and Medina, 2021). 760 volunteers participated in the second stage trial for the 11.25 million population of people in Cuba including people between 19 and 54 years and a special involvement of people around 80 years (Santos et al, 2021). The vaccine development process had a preferential consideration for people with comorbidities and those with chronic diseases; their inclusion was monitored and medically controlled (Santo et al, 2021). The effect of the trial stages is shown in the quality of the vaccine and its reliability at performing that which it was manufactured for. The third stage of the vaccine development was charged for immunogen results in the third phase trial participants. The third phase had a total of 48,290 volunteers from provinces including Granma, Guantanamo and Santiago de Cuba (Mola, 2021). The trials show that, the vaccine generates antibodies against COVID-19 and that, it yields a “viral neutralization assay” with “functional activity” (Santo et al, 2021).
Mola (2021) reports that Abdala was developed by the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Havana, Cuba. The center also manufactured Mambisa but mainly for nasal administration the reporter says. Abdala vaccine is protein subunit and contains a synthetic segment of the SARS-CoV-2 S protein, which is identified as an RBD (receptor binding domain) (Mola, 2021). The notable part of the vaccine product is its quality. Abdala is thus ranked fourth in the list of vaccine production mostly among first world countries—right after US’s Moderna third, US and Germany’s Pfizer second and US’s Novavax as the first ranked COVID-19 vaccine globally. The World Health Organization (WHO) has attested to the efficacy of Abdala with a test response that, the vaccine rates above the 50 percent benchmark set for coronavirus production as a global standard (Mola, 2021). Despite being short of funds, Cuba has risen beyond its financial incapability to competing medically with rich nations globally. Although, Cuba is placed on a financial blockade by the United States for over sixty years, Cuban authorities rose to the occasion to protect Cubans from the haphazard effects of coronavirus; placing the country high among comity of nations (Mola, 2021).
Notably, Cuba has been able to present five vaccine candidates to containing COVID-19; Abdala tops the candidates based on its near perfect efficacy. The center in charge of Abdala production claims the vaccine is capable of elevating immune responses through antibody generation. Abdala was tested active for efficacy, the production was inspected and certified for standard and safe practices. The vaccine production centers were equally validated—a step which places the vaccine in a public light that would later yield a global audience, purchase and revenue for Cuba. The country’s authorities have been able to maximize Abdala’s production to source revenue for the country. The benefit of Abdala’s production has been identified as reducing COVID-19 cases, reducing coronavirus related deaths, strengthening the country’s biotechnological infrastructure and professionalism, generating income through Abdala’s exportation and sales and competing on a global standard with well-resourced nations.
Cuba’s Abdala Against Other Vaccines: Testimonials
Cuban authorities pulled off the risk and opted for ‘homemade’ coronavirus vaccine. Although, medical professionals advised the authorities such a decision was risky but it paid after the success Abdala and Soberana. Cuban government supported the vaccine production from the outset; a testament to this is the tweet from the President, Miguel Diaz-Canel that despite a hard hit of COVID-19 in Cuba, the authorities were set to provided needed support for the vaccine production institutes including Finlay Institute and Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (Reuters, 2021). Testimonials from the authorities indicate that Abdala does not only cater for COVID-19 containment and public safety, it is also targeted at boosting the morale of medical professionals in the country while revamping the health sector for more rapid and responsive public health cases and emergencies. The government’s justification for the homegrown component vaccine is that, “it would create a centrally controlled and free health care system in Cuba toward a fast-pace vaccination and coronavirus suppression” (VOI, 2021). The implication of Abdala’s successful production in Cuba is that it reveals the tenacity of the authorities, the ingenuity of the biotechnologists and medical experts and the resilience of the public in safely receiving the vaccine. World Health Organization (WHO) commends the efficacy of Abdala noting that the vaccine creates optimism for the country and a great news for the people. The representative, Jose Moya is described to have knowledge of the formula for Abdala, a vaccine which has become globally competitive and required by different countries in combating the prevalence of COVID-19 (Vincent, 2021). Upon a successful production of vaccines for coronavirus, Cuban authorities targeted a 70 percent vaccination of the people. However, Reuters’ report indicates that only 6.4 million of the 11.2 million population have been vaccinated (Reuters, 2021).
Global Importance and Demand for Abdala
Abdala has proven to be an effective vaccine in generating antibodies against COVID-19. The vaccine has been robustly used in the island country and is now yielding respects from international level. Venezuela has received Abdala from Cuba and has embarked on populating it to the tune of four million doses for local use in the country. Venezuelan authorities have been reported to receive a shipment of the vaccine toward public use (Berti, 2021). The Cuban vaccine is named Abdala, the name of the country’s independence hero; this shows how significant the name is supported by the potency of the vaccine for local and resulting global use.
COVID-19 was unexpected globally. Although, there had been variants of the SARS virus earlier before 2020, the emergence of the pandemic caught the world unaware. The unaware nature of the virus influenced its effects in cases, prevalence and eventual deaths. However, countries with research and biotechnological infrastructure were able to produce vaccine for the containment of the virus. Among the top-leading countries of the world who made COVID-19 vaccine, Cuba impacted with a giant stride coming fourth in a league of countries including the United States, Germany and India. The vaccine has been found efficacious in arresting coronavirus; it has thus been in widely-accepted use in Cuba and beyond.
The novel coronavirus of 2019, known as COVID-19, fiercely swept across the entire world within just a matter of months, causing panic, fear, and uncertainty. For over a year now, COVID-19 has been the daily talk of the world as we have all been fighting this devastating pandemic together. Quarantines, shutdowns, social distancing, and mask mandates have been put in place all around the world in hopes of slowing down the spread of this deadly virus, and these precautions are still in effect in many places today as cases continue to rise and new variants of the virus emerge.
COVID-19 Vaccines Show Promise Against the Coronavirus
The United States’ recent development of their COVID-19 vaccines has shown promise in being effective against the coronavirus. Based on clinical trials, Pfizer’s BioNTech mRNA two-shot COVID-19 vaccine has shown to be 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection in those who received both doses of the vaccine and had no prior infection.1 Based on clinical trials, Moderna’s mRNA two-shot COVID-19 vaccine has shown to be 94.1% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection in those who received both doses of the vaccine and had no prior infection.2 In clinical trials, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen viral vector COVID-19 vaccine has shown to be 66.3% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection in those who received the single-dose vaccine and had no prior infection.3
The United States aren’t the only ones trying to stop COVID-19 for good with their immunizations. Cuba has now joined the race to beat COVID-19 as new cases continue to rise and new variants of the virus emerge.
Can Cuba’s Homegrown Vaccines Help Solve the Worsening COVID-19 Pandemic?
Cuba is working to become the first Latin America country to develop and manufacture its own COVID-19 vaccines.4 Cuba’s development of two new COVID-19 vaccine candidates has been reported in the news a lot during the past few weeks. Cuba is betting that its own vaccines, made by local laboratories, can beat COVID-19 on its own.5 “Vicente Vérez Bencomo, director-general of the state-owned Finlay Institute of Vaccines in Havana, where one of Cuba’s most advanced vaccine candidates was created, thinks the chances are good.”4
Guaranteeing Cuba’s Sovereignty with Its Own COVID-19 Vaccines
Cuba decided to develop and manufacture its own coronavirus vaccines rather than compete with richer countries for vaccines6 to immunize its tiny island of 11 million inhabitants.6 After the COVID-19 pandemic began, “Cuban leader Miguel Díaz-Canel said that guaranteeing the nation’s sovereignty was the main goal of producing a homegrown vaccine,”6 naming the first vaccine candidate Soberana which is Spanish for “sovereign.”6 Abdala, another of Cuba’s vaccine candidates, was named after a poem by independence hero José Martí.6 For Cubans, the names of these homegrown vaccines show that the tiny island of 11 million inhabitants “cannot be broken by a deadly virus.”7
Cuba is Hopeful That Its Homegrown Vaccine Candidates Will Be Effective Against COVID-19
As of today, Cuba has five coronavirus vaccine candidates at various stages of [clinical] trials.6 Just last week, Cuba said that two out of five vaccine candidates have shown to be highly effective against COVID-19.6 The Cuban government-owned pharmaceutical company, BioCubaFarma, said that its three-dose Abdala vaccine has shown to be 92.28% effective in Phase III trials.6 However, The Pan American Health Organization says Cuba has yet to “publish trial data on its Abdala vaccine in peer-reviewed scientific journals so that the global scientific community can evaluate efficacy rates of the COVID-19 [vaccine].”6
Cuba has already been administering its vaccines “even before receiving certification from local authorities”6 after a surge in coronavirus cases led to an emergency response in May.6 According to Díaz-Canel, more than one million Cubans have already been vaccinated with at least one dose of the Abdala or Soberana 02 vaccines.6
Cuba’s Surge in COVID-19 Cases: A Race Against Time
Cases of the coronavirus have been steadily rising since November 2020 after Cuba reopened its borders to tourists.6 The island is now dealing with its worst outbreak for the first time since the pandemic started,8 registering more than 3,000 daily cases. According to the Ministry of Public Health, since the start of the pandemic, Cuba’s total cases have reached 188,000 with 1,270 deaths.6 The government is aiming to have 70% of Cuba’s population fully vaccinated by August 2021.7
Is Cuba’s Abdala COVID-19 Vaccine One of the World’s Most Effective Coronavirus Vaccines?
With its reported 92.28% efficacy against COVID-19 in Phase III clinical trials,6 Cuba’s three-shot Abdala COVID-19 vaccine may become one of the most effective coronavirus vaccines in the world, rivaling Pfizer-BioNTech’s 95% efficacy,1 Moderna’s 94.1% efficacy,2 and Russia’s Sputnik V’s 91.6 efficacy.9
Countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Jamaica, Mexico, and Venezuela are interested in obtaining Cuba’s coronavirus vaccines.7 The reported high rate of efficacy of Cuba’s Abdala vaccine, as well as the hope for efficacy with other Cuban vaccine candidates in various stages of clinical trials, could enable vaccine exports to other countries to help lift Cuba out of its economic crisis.9 In fact, Venezuela received their first batch of Abdala just this week.10 And Caracas signed a deal to buy 12 million doses of Abdala.10 Cuba has plans to manufacture 100 million doses in 2021 for export to more than 30 countries10 around the globe.
Cuba’s COVID-19 National Protocol
Although vaccines are being developed and administered to people all over the world, Cuba still has protocols in place to protect the country and its tourists from COVID-19 infection. In fact, Cuba is facing its worst outbreak since the beginning of the pandemic.8 As a result, Cuba is under a level 4 travel alert (DO NOT TRAVEL).11
According to the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, all travelers must present a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test administered no more than 72 hours prior to entry into Cuba.11 “All travelers are required to fill out a health declaration card,”11 take a COVID-19 PCR test at the port of entry, and self-isolate until results of the COVID PCR test are received.11 If the results are negative, another PCR test will be administered on the fifth day of isolation; if the second PCR results are negative, the isolation period is over.11 Travelers who test negative upon arrival can self-isolate in a government-run facility or at a hotel participating in the government’s COVID-19 isolation protocol.11 Travelers who test positive will be moved to the National Institute of Tropical Diseases Pedro Kouri.11
All individuals are required to wear a facemask in all enclosed public spaces and comply with sanitization and social distancing requirements.12
Commercial flights are operating but are limited and can be cancelled unexpectedly.11 According to the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, “if U.S. citizens choose to travel to Cuba despite the level 4 alert for Cuba, they should stay in close contact with their travel agents and/or airlines and be prepared to cover their living expenses in Cuba should their return flight(s) be cancelled. The U.S. Embassy is closed for routine services and cannot assist with travel arrangements.”11
Public transportation is operating but is limited11,12 to essential workers.12
Fines for Non-Compliance
If individuals do not comply with Cuban government measures and hygiene protocols, a fine and/or criminal penalty may be issued.11
Cuba’s Hope to End the World’s Common Enemy
As the world continues to fight the common enemy known as COVID-19, Cuba remains hopeful that its homegrown vaccines will officially beat the virus.
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Overview and Safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated June 24, 2021. Accessed July 2, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/corona
Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Overview and Safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated June 23, 2021. Accessed July 2, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/janssen.html.
Mega E. Can Cuba beat COVID with its homegrown vaccines? Published April 29, 2021. Accessed July 2, 2021. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01126-4.
Wyss J. Cuba Bets Big on Its Own Vaccines as Covid Surges. Bloomberg Businessweek. Published May 25, 2021. Accessed July 3, 2021. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti
Brasileiro A. WHO tells CUBA to publish its COVID-19 vaccine data and to seek approval for COVAX. Miami Herald. Published July 1, 2021. Updated July 1, 2021. Accessed July 3, 2021. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article2
Pieper O. Cuba’s COVID vaccine rivals BioNTech-Pfizer, Moderna. Published June 27, 2021. Accessed July 3, 2021. https://www.dw.com/en/cubas-covid-vaccine-rivals-biontech-pfizer-moderna/a-58052365.
Cuba says Abdala vaccine 92.28% effective against coronavirus. Reuters®. Published June 22, 2021. Accessed July 3, 2021. https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/cuba-says-abdala-vaccine-9228-effective-against-coronavirus-2021-06-21/.
Cuba reports a high success rate for its homegrown Abdala vaccine. The New York Times. Accessed July 3, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/22/world/americas/
Berti L. Venezuela receives first batch of Abdala vaccine from Cuba. Published June 30, 2021. Accessed July 3, 2021. The Brazilian Report. https://brazilian.report/liveblog/2021
COVID-19 Information. S. Embassy in Cuba. Updated June 16, 2021. Accessed July 3, 2021. https://cu.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/.
Cuba: COVID-19-related travel protocols and domestic restrictions in force as of May 4 remain largely unchanged /update 21. Published May 4, 2021. https://www.garda.com/crisis24/news-alerts/474861/cuba-covid-19-related-travel-protocols-and-domestic-restrictions-in-force-as-of-may-4-remain-largely-unchanged-update-21.
One of the most important life processes for every adult is sleep. A good night’s rest on a comfortable surface is vital for survival and effective living. The recommended hours of sleep for an adult ranges from seven (7) to nine (9) hours every day with six (6) hours being the permissible minimum. Adults are advised to keep to this time in order to give the body enough time to rest and revitalize after seventeen hours of stretched-out activities without catching a break. Enough sleep is mandatory for healthy living. Sleep deprivation ensues when an individual is not receiving the recommended adequate amount of sleep. This is a severe condition with several risk factors and effects, especially on the brain. However, before examining thoroughly the effects of sleep deprivation on the brain, let’s consider the following reasons why sleep is important;
Importance Of Sleep
The revitalization of Body Cellular Functions
During the day, our body cells are active and working tirelessly to maintain body cellular functions without a break. Therefore like machines are privy to break down after tireless work, so is the human body system. In order to revitalize the body and promote restoration of body cells and tissues including the muscles. When humans sleep, their muscles repair themselves, with organs and cells working to revitalize and heal for proper functionality when awake and active.
Conservation of Energy
The body utilizes ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) the energy currency of the cell during active hours. Without a break, there will be a continuous depletion of the body’s energy and most of the body’s energy will be redirected towards repair activities and conservation.
Regulate Brain Function
The brain functions to control different bodily actions. Thinking and work keep the brain active during the day and at night, the brain has time to relax from external stress when we sleep. Contrary to what most individuals think, the brain is active even while asleep. Sleeping aids to regulate brain function. There is active communication with neurons and toxins are removed from the brain during sleep.
Effects Of Sleep On The Brain
Sleep is important for a number of reasons as discussed earlier. Without sleep, the brain components would not act properly and will affect many bodily functions. Obesity and depression are only but a few adverse effects of not sleeping as it affects specific brain function relating to the body system processes. There are different causes of sleep deprivation including sleep orders (restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea), chronic illnesses (cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and schizophrenia) and these could lead to a variety of long-term effects. Here are the outlined effects of sleep on the brain;
Impairment of Brain Function
During sleep as mentioned previously, the brain cells, chemicals, and components all stay active to remove toxins, conserve energy and revitalize the body functions. If sleep is deprived and the brain doesn’t get the chance to perform these functions, there could be an impairment in the activities carried out while awake. It has been researched and observed that without adequate sleep, the development of poor memory, bad focus, and inability to pay proper attention will occur. The mental capacity of the brain will be subject to depletion in capabilities without sleep. Sleep deprivation reduces attention span and ability to think properly.
Reduction of Immunity
Loss of sleep will affect immunity and subject the body and brain to reduced immunity. The brain and the immune system are closely related to the manner in which they act. The shared signals between the immune system and brain through the nerve endings, neurotransmitters, and modulators aids the immune system to release chemicals that will boost the body’s defense. The brain cycle following the circadian clock follows through affecting the immune system in the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines that’ll improve the defense against foreign bodies. Sleep deprivation will affect this neuroimmune response. The body and brain will be vulnerable to infection without adequate sleep.
Without sleep, it has been discovered that the connection between the prefrontal cortex and the brain’s emotional processing centers will be disrupted. A disruption in this process will lead to impairment and an increase in emotions. This leads to hypersensitivity that affects the way a sleep-deprived person will react. Without sleep, individuals become more irrational, sensitive, and highly irritable. Without adequate sleep, the functionality of the brain is affected including the components responsible for the control of human emotions. The neurons are unable to function properly creating an easy pathway for a reduction in cognitive abilities.
Increased Risk of Obesity and Eating Disorders Due To Disruption in Hormone Production
There is a risk of obesity when sleep deprivation is introduced. Studies have shown that without sleep the production of hormones that regulate hunger and satisfaction are disrupted. Without adequate sleep Ghrelin which is responsible for the regulation of hunger, rises while leptin responsible for satisfaction reduces. As the feeling of hunger increases, the body’s natural reaction is to source more food which over time will lead to obesity and sleep disorders.
Insomnia disrupts brain function and increases the risk of depression. There are studies which have linked lack of sleep to depression in individuals. In fact, to treat depression, adequate sleep is always prescribed. The impairment in brain function caused by lack of sleep, there will be instability in the emotions of the individual causing erratic behavior and depression in some cases.
In time, if sleep deprivation continues, the value of life will continue to reduce drastically and death is in fact, imminent. The body is a system that must be managed and although it seems like a wasteful activity, adequate sleep is necessary. Without sleep, the brain will lead the immune system, the heart, the metabolic system, and a myriad of other bodily systems to misbehave. Staying healthy is keeping the brain healthy and sleeping is a necessity. Sleep deprivation could lead to death if left untreated. Stay in good health with proper sleep at the right time, with the right specified hours.
CubaHeal Medical is a global organization specialized in facilitating medical treatments, medical education, in addition to patient and student care in the Republic of Cuba. CubaHeal is a loyal supporter of the Republic of Cuba, the Cuban people, the Cuban revolution, and the Cuban revolutionary leadership.