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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.

DRUG REHABILITATIONDiego 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.

 

 

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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.

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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.

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.

 

References

Gardaworld (2021). Cuba: COVID-19-related travel protocols and domestic restrictions in force as of May 4 remain largely unchanged/update 21 https://www.garda.com/crisis24/news-alerts/474861/cuba-covid-19-related-protocols-and-domestic-restrcitions-in-force-as-of-may-4-remian-largely-unchanged-update-21

Morris, E. and Kelman, I. (2020). Coronavirus response: Why Cuba is such an interesting case https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-response-why-cuba-is-such-an-interesting-case-135749

Nature (2021). Can Cuba beat COVID with its homegrown vaccines https://www.nature.com/articles/d441586-021-01126-4

NBENEWS (2020). Cuba confirms first coronavirus cases, tells people to make their own masks https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/cuba-confirms-first-coronavirus-cases-tells-people-make-their-own-n1156711

Statista (2021). Cuba: Direct tourism contribution to GDP 2010-2019 https://www.statista.com/statistics/528443/direct-contribution-travel-tourism-gdp-cuba/

Taylor (2021). How Cuba and Uruguay are quashing coronavirus as neighbors struggle https://www.newscientist.com/article/2247740-how-cuba-and-uruguay-are-quashing-coronavirus-as-neighbors-struggle/

Worldometers (2021). Cuba coronavirus cases https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/cuba/

 

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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.

COVID-19

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).

Abdala’s Efficacy

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.

References

Berti, L. (2021) Venezuela receives first batch of Abdala vaccine from Cuba https://brazilian.report/liveblog/2021/06/30/venezuela-abdala-vaccine-cuba/

Kandola, A. (2020) Coronavirus cause: Origin and how it spreads https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/coronavirus-causes

Mola, A. (2021) Cuba says its Abdala vaccine among the most effective in the world https://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/health/cuba-says-its-abdala-vaccine-among-the-most-effective-in-the-world/2277680/lite/

Frank, M. (2021) Cuba says Abdala vaccine 92.28% effective against coronavirus https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/cuba-says-abdala-vaccine-9228-effective-against-coronavirus-2021-06-21/

Reuters (2021). Reuters COVID-19 tracker https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/countries-and-territories/cuba/

Reuters (2021) Cuba says Abdala vaccine 92.28% effective against coronavirus https://www.google.com/amp/s/m.timesofindia.com/world/rest-of-world/cuba-says-abdala-vaccine-92-28-effective-against-coronavirus/amp_articleshow/83769856.cms

Santos, I., Martin, L., and Medina, O. (2021) COVID-19: Russian vaccine efficacy is 91.6% show phase III trial results https://doi.org/10/1136/bmj.n309

Vincent, M. (2021) Cuba announces its Abdala vaccine is 92.28% effective against COVID-19 https://www.google.com/amp/s/english.elpais.com/usa/2021-07-01/cuba-announces-its-abdala-vaccine-is-9228-effective-against-covid-19.html%3foutputType=amp

VOI (2021) Abdala vaccine made in Cuba is rated effective against COVID-19 up to 92.3 percent https://www.google.com/amp/s/voi.id/en/amp/abdala-vaccine-in-cuba-is-rated-against-covid-19-up-to-923-percent

Yaffe, H. (2021) Cuba’s five COVID-19 vaccines: The full story on Soberana 01/02 Plus, Abdala, and Mambisa https://https://blogs.Ise.ac.ui/latamcaribbean/2021/03/31/cubas-five-19-vaccines-the-full-story-on-soberana-01-02-plus-abdala-and-mambisa/

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COVID-19: The World’s Common Enemy

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

Travelers

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

Local Restrictions

All individuals are required to wear a facemask in all enclosed public spaces and comply with sanitization and social distancing requirements.12

Transportation

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.

References:

 

  1. 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

virus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/Pfizer-BioNTech.html.

 

  1. Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Overview and Safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated June 11, 2021. Accessed July 2, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/corona

virus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/Moderna.html.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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

cles/2021-05-25/cuba-s-big-bet-to-solve-its-covid-19-crisis-homegrown-vaccines.

 

  1. 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

52480218.html.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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/.

 

  1. 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/

cuba-vaccine-abdala.html.

 

  1. 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

/06/30/venezuela-abdala-vaccine-cuba/.

 

  1. COVID-19 Information. S. Embassy in Cuba. Updated June 16, 2021. Accessed July 3, 2021. https://cu.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/.

 

  1. 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.
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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.

  • Heightened Emotions

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.

  • Depression

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.

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An overview

There are many people who are curious about the Cuban healthcare system. Many people feel that the Cuban healthcare system is one of Fidel Castro’s greatest achievements. Because of the socialist ideology of Cuba healthcare is considered to be a fundamental right which should be available at all times to all citizens. Cuban healthcare focuses on a preventative approach as far as healthcare is concerned. Absolutely all kinds of healthcare are free of charge. This includes all medicines, dental care and even doctors doing home visits are covered by the Cuban healthcare system. Cuban healthcare authorities have all of the required statistics to show how effective this system is. As far as infant mortality rates are concerned there are 4.2 deaths per 1000 births while in the UK there are 3.5 deaths per 1000 births. In Cuba the life expectancies among males is 77 years and among women it is 81 while life expectancies in the UK is 79 and 83 respectively.

Best doctor-patient ratio

In Cuba there is one doctor for every 150 patients. This is significantly better than in any other developed country. In the UK there are 2.8 doctors for every 1000 patients. This is why it does not come as a surprise that the Secretary-General of the UN points to the Cuban healthcare system as a model which should be followed by other countries. Foreigners who have spent time in the Cuban healthcare environment have seen for themselves the many positives and negatives relating to the Cuban healthcare service. Many of them are therefore able to confirm the available statistics. Even among US citizens they are respect for how much Cuba has been able to accomplish when they themselves seem to have so little compared to other developed countries. US citizens are especially impressed by the humility and the professionalism which can be seen among Cuban healthcare workers. Even though Cuban doctors do not earn much and they are often overwhelmed because so many of their colleagues had been sent to African countries in order to assist in healthcare missions they still persist with their endeavors.

Accomplishing the impossible

It is frequently see how Cuban healthcare workers maintain a high standard of service even when they do not have access to sophisticated diagnostic technology. It often happens that you have to wait long periods of time for basic equipment to arrive before they can proceed with procedures. Sometimes there is no running water and no electricity but still healthcare workers find a way to overcome those obstacles and they still manage to deliver a high standard of healthcare. Many Cuban doctors maintain that healthcare is about the need to help others and not so much about personal welfare. Even though this is a concept which is taught in most medical schools it is not something which is seen in actual practice. However, Cuban doctors are the exception. According to statistics the healthcare for a single Cuban is between 300 and $400 per year.

Orthopedic surgery

It is widely accepted that orthopedic surgeons in Cuba are today offering some of the very best Orthopedic Surgical Programs in the world. Because of their extensive training Orthopedic surgeons are able to use both nonsurgical and surgical means to treat a whole range of injuries and other healthcare problems. A long list of orthopedic services is now provided by orthopedic surgeons in Cuba. This include Orthopedic trauma, sports injuries, ankle surgery, foot surgery, pediatric surgery, reconstruction of joints, elbow and hand surgery, spinal surgery, shoulder replacement as well as knee and hip replacement.

Overcoming challenges

Many health professionals continue to be amazed about the fact that Cuba has been experiencing extreme problems for the last six decades because of US economic sanctions. Nevertheless, it still has one of the best health systems in the entire world. In fact, it continues to deliver a higher standard of healthcare than many other developed countries including the US. This is because of the commitment of Cuba to prevent health problems. There is also community oriented primary health care available everywhere. It is an ongoing struggle for healthcare providers to maintain their high standard because of shortages in medicine. It still continues to improve its national healthcare. Another interesting statistic is the fact that Cuba spent 23% of the national budget on healthcare. A further 50% is spent on education which is almost double as much which is allocated for education and healthcare in the US.

Pharmaceutical companies in Cuba

Cuba has its own state owned pharmaceutical industry. One of the priorities of this industry has been the production of treatments which can be used for Covid 19. It also produces another 21 products which are being used to combat the virus. Many healthcare providers all across the planet are in agreement that the success of the Cuban health system is an example to the rest of the world. As far as education is concerned Cuba has the world’s largest medical schools. A perfect example is the Havana Latin American School of Medicine. This institution has provided free education to over 35,000 students from 138 countries in only 20 years. Students coming to these medical schools will receive full tuition and this will include accommodation, textbooks, meals and even a small income. All of the students are encouraged to provide their services to poor communities. This has the result that Cuba currently have over 50,000 doctors which is active in more than 60 countries which is substantially more than the current efforts by other developed countries. The inescapable reality is that this tiny island nation which have encountered so many obstacles over many decades have still managed to improve the lives of so many people.

Re-Evaluating healthcare

It seems in many countries the original concept of what it means to be a doctor has been lost. This is not the case as far as Cuba is concerned. In this country there is a persistent attempt to reverse the trend seen in other developed nations where patients are increasingly viewed as customers and clients while healthcare provider is becoming service providers. There are so many problems as far as healthcare is concerned all across the planet. There is the current corona virus pandemic and in many places there are difficulty when it comes to access to healthcare. In many places healthcare systems are collapsing especially at a time when such services are critically needed. The sad reality is that despite many sophisticated technologies constantly emerging and also the success of medical science we currently see a situation where it seems we have so many problems when it comes to caring for our own.

An army in disarray

There are long list of problems all across the planet which continues to prevent countries from providing optimum healthcare for all of their citizens. It seems there are simply not enough health workers and those which are available are not properly trained or they have not been properly distributed. The result is that there are many health systems that simply do not have sufficient personnel. This is especially true in developing countries. It is frequently seen that health systems do not have enough personnel; there are simply not proper leadership and effective organization. Although it is certainly true that Third World countries experience the most problems it is also true that there are many affluent nations where there are also many problems.

The Cuban effort

No other country has done more than Cuba to bring about a change in the healthcare problems of this planet. They have done so much with their medical education system which has the result that there are more than 24,000 Cuban health professionals active in over 60 countries. This has encouraged more than 10,000 international students to enroll in a full scholarship at one of the Cuban medical school. The healthcare situation in Cuba was not always so efficient. After the revolution of 1959, 3,000 of Cuba remaining 6000 physicians immigrated. However Cuba immediately started to educate students coming from developing countries training them with their own students. From the start there was a commitment on the part of Cuba to make a difference as far as international healthcare systems was concerned. Over the years thousands of international students have graduated from Cuban medical school. In fact there are many of those graduates who are today secretaries of health and some are even involved in the health ministries of other countries.

Sharing their knowledge

Many other countries benefited from the educational system of Cuba. This includes Yemen, Guyana, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, Gambia, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti and Guinea Bissau. Cuba was also involved in other countries such as Venezuela, South Africa, Peru, Paraguay, El Salvador, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and Angola. Many of these countries have benefited from Cuban professors who provided them with assistance as far as their medical education was concerned. The reality is that the world today and in particular underdeveloped countries would have been in a desperate situation if it had not been for the Cuban influence in global healthcare systems. It is remarkable how much of a difference this tiny country has made.

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Growing old is a phase in life impossible to hinder. The elderly are sensitive individuals who require proper care and special attention to maintain steady health and guarantee their good living. Elderly care or senior care is, therefore, necessary and essential to keep the older living citizens amongst us healthy and happy. Elderly care encompasses a deliberate system developed to guarantee vibrancy and access to needed resources required to maintain health and stamina for the prolonged living of older citizens. This system should include a relaxed environment with the proper centres and health workforce to preserve and keep physical strength, an economic system that supports older citizens in financial benefits, locations filled with senior citizens friendly neighbourhood and a dependable healthcare sector with available professionals and geriatric specialists to handle common diseases peculiar to older patients.

Elderly Care

Taking all these factors into consideration, the effective transition from working class to senior citizenship is not a comfortable process for both older individuals and relatives. Choosing the area for retirement must be explicitly deliberate as retirement from jobs can be mentally tasking to come to terms with. Newly retired older citizens could develop depression without activities to build the mind and an adequate environment to promote engagement to manage mental alertness. Without a proper location also, the elderly are at the risk of being neglected and abused. The deteriorating health and troubles that accompany old age require special attention and an environment with specialist doctors is very essential. Elderly care is quite sensitive and crucial. It is therefore essential that both the environment, people surrounding the elderly patients and economic conditions must be suitable to enlongate life and promote good health in the old.

Elderly Care in Cuba

The Republic of Cuba located in the Northern Caribbean, south of the state of Florida and the Bahamas, is a beautiful country with a rich Spanish culture and spectacular scenery. With the average life expectancy in Cuba being 70years, the senior citizens make up about 14% of the general population has recorded in urban areas. Due to the high percentage, elderly care in the Republic of Cuba has significantly improved in the past decade. Presently, there are governmental and private-led social, medical and financial care available for older citizens.

The medical care for the elderly in Cuba include free access at all levels for both specialized and general health issues. There is a current surge in geriatric doctors with training initiatives provided to boost the knowledge of family doctors towards understanding geriatric medical needs and expanding their practice. This medical care system has been developed to boost the care and life expectancy of the elderly creating a better health system for the older citizens. The financial assistance towards elderly care in Cuba doesn’t fall short of perfect too. Pensions are usually paid expressly irrespective of the economic situation. Social assistance for older people is rooted deep into Cuban society, creating an environment that facilitates proper care, attention and support for the elderly. The communities are sensitive towards older persons in society and stand in solidarity with neighbourhood assistance and friendly people considerate and open to the elderly.

Elderly care in Cuba is above the standard with both communal and economic ingenuities developed to sustain and improve the lives of elderly persons in the country. As a result of Cuba’s deliberate attempt to improve elderly care, life expectancy remains high and growing. With senior citizens clubs, senior care facility, psychological and sociological research centres, Cuba is fortified with every necessary tool present for senior citizens and elderly persons to thrive.

Benefits of Retirement in Cuba

Retirement is an opportunity to begin a new life and start afresh. In the beautiful city termed a retirement haven, Cuba is the perfect place to take in and relax after a long hectic life of struggles. The benefits of retiring in Cuba thus includes;

  1. Low Cost of Living

The cost of living in Cuba for retirees is quite low. Food and rent are cheap and easy to access with the government offering Snow Bird visas for short term visits. The value of top-notch living in a tropical environment with good-natured individuals, interesting culture and language in comparison to surrounding countries is cheap and affordable. Staying in Cuba does not come at a cost and planning for permanence is highly advisable.

  • Assisted Living Homes

The assisted living homes in Cuba for the elderly are developed on the foundation of respect, medical adeptness and true support. Cuban culture thrives on quality care and attention for the older generation. The treatment and care costs for an environment that offers good medical services and non-abusive educated workers are relatively cost-effective. Retired individuals with disabilities are given the opportunity to enjoy life irrespective of the condition with excellent assistance at a good rate.

  • Beautiful Scenery and Safe Environment

An accommodating environment that is safe with an abundance of places to see, explore and visit is Cuba in a nutshell. Explore the architecture and cultural diversity of Camaguey, enjoy the mild beautiful sunset on the beaches in Varadero and be taken captive by Havana and Trinidad’s charm. Old age can be a fun experience in a safe country like Cuba.

  • Suitable Healthcare

The healthcare sector in Cuba is built on a foundation of elderly care available for senior citizens. General practitioners and specialists in the geriatric field are in abundance. Senior citizens care centres are equipped with standard equipment and medical professionals to keep older people in good health. The cost of care for older persons is considerable inexpensive for high-quality care received. Cuba’s life expectancy at 70 years mirrors the United States, proposing evidence for high-quality medical care for the older generation.

  • Friendly Climate

Dry and wet seasons in Cuba are characteristic of the tropical nature of the country. The bright sunshine and cool weather is suitable for the old. The weather is not harsh or dangerous and is perfect for retiring old persons. The tropical area provides a warm comforting environment to garden, enjoy the beach and learn new sporting activities even in old age.

The level of quality elderly care in Cuba is the reason it is a top-tier destination for retiring individuals. Alongside the first grade medical care, the inexpensive cost of living and assisted care is perfect for the elderly from all the world. A country where the environment, government and people are designed to promote health of the old is a destination for the best elderly care.

—> Long-Term Elderly Care

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Almost everybody in this world has faced face a little pain in their ankle while walking it because they are either twisted or turned in an awkward way which our whole leg was unable to handle. This whole twist and turn of the tissue in the ankle can sometimes lead to a rupture in the ligament which was responsible for holding ankle bones together.

The tissue helps to keep the bones together due to which our joint works and move properly. A little bit of tear in a ligament can lead to disturbance in the motion of the entire portion. The sprained ankle mostly happens when the tissue and bones go beyond that particular motion. The sprained ankle can be both internally that is a ligament tear or externally that a twist in a bone structure.

Few symptoms relate to a sprained ankle.

The symptoms of sprained ankle differ from person to person depending upon how severe the pain is. Sometimes the twist in the ankle heals with hours and sometimes it takes days  so the basic symptoms might be the same but the severity level can be different.

  • Pain, especially when you bear weight on the affected foot
  • Tenderness when you touch the ankle
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Restricted range of motion
  • Instability in the ankle
  • Popping sensation or sound at the time of injury

If the severity of the symptoms increases then the pain might be equal to that of breaking the bone. In adult’s the sprain in the ankle is common but in children’s also the sprained ankle is caused due to some minute reasons such as

  • uneven walking
  • jumping
  • pain in  ankle
  • Changes in every level of walking.
  • Sometimes due to tenderness in the bones, there might be a fracture in the bones of the baby.

Causes of Sprained ankle are:

As discussed earlier sprained ankle is a condition which is commonly occurred when the whole ankle gets twisted or there’s a tear in a ligament. Some basic causes can also be reason of sprained ankle such as

1. Falling 

Falling can be the major reason why people usually get sprained ankle and by the way the height while falling is not yet determined so if the person falls from a very tall place the severity of the ankle twist will be a lot more than that of pain which will be after falling from a shorter height. Falling while running or during exercise also falls under the falling category.

2. Overuse 

The overuse of the ankle can be another major reason why people tend to get the sprained ankle. In overuse, there belongs a lot of leg work and less resting due to which at the end of the day all the pressure gets on the ankle and it starts getting sore and causes pain.

3. Previous ankle sprain

An ankle sprain is of many types some of them are acute while some of them are having a huge impact on the entire leg. The acute ankle sprain is a minute ankle sprain that can easily be recovered within 2 3 hours but what if that ankle sprain is not properly healed and people are still putting the same amount of pressure on the ankle which indeed causes a severe ankle sprain.

Treatments and medication regarding ankle sprain:

Treating an ankle sprain is sometimes easy and quite difficult at the same time because sometimes a little ice pack can heal the swelling and pain of the ankle but sometimes that same ankle sprain can last for 3 4 days which will be very dangerous to handle.

1. RICE protocol

Rest, ice, compression, and elevations. In the RICE protocol, one should rest his or her ankle for a while applying some ice over it because ice helps in reducing the swelling then followed by compression and elevations over the respective ankle.

2. Exercise

The exercise will stretch the respective muscles such as ankle circles, toe raises, or heel raises. After the surgery or the ankle sprain, the doctors usually suggest performing some minute exercise to keep the blood flowing and prevent it from swelling.

3. Medication

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can ease pain and reduce swelling.

Few respective Medicines for ankle sprain are:

  • ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others)
  • naproxen sodium (Aleve, others)
  • acetaminophen (Tylenol)

Recovery regarding ankle sprain:

The ankle sprain can be of different types the phases of the ankle sprain are categorized into grade 1, grade 2, and grade 3.

  • The grade 1 ankle sprain might take few weeks to heal say 1 to 3 weeks.
  • The grade 2 ankle sprain might take 3 to 5 weeks to heal.
  • The grade 3 ankle sprain might take few months to heal.

Conclusion:

So in conclusion, an ankle sprain can happen to anybody who has a bad walking structure. The ankle sprain can be ignored because that same ignored sprain can cause permanent damage to the ankle so it’s highly suggested that one should always consult a doctor even if there a minute ankle sprain.

Psychological-and-psychotherapy.jpg

In the 21st century, we are facing the fact that the global population is ageing quite rapidly. The reason for this increasing trend lies in several factors. Firstly, the number of babies brought to this world declines and more and more couples face fertility issues. Second, more important factor includes better availability and quality of healthcare worldwide, which in return prolongs life expectancy. Western countries, and those with high quality of primary healthcare, are impacted the most with ageing phenomenon. According to some estimations provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), the total world’s population over 60 years of age will nearly double by the 2050. Shown in numbers, we can anticipate an increase from 900 million today, up to nearly 2 billion people of elderly people in thirty years. These, what appears to be dramatic data have multiple consequences, including social, economical, as well as healthcare issues.

Psychological and psychotherapy

Mental problems are well recognized health issue in the elderly. It is estimated that approximately one fifth of the global elderly population suffers from some form of psychological disorder which prevents them from independently performing everyday activities. As a society, we sometimes perceive intellectual and mental decline almost as a natural consequence of ageing. On the other hand, stigma that surrounds these conditions often prevents elderly people and their families from seeking professional help and assistance. Support and care are crucial when we discuss about how to overcome the challenges related to psychological problems in the old age.

What are the risk factors?

The spectrum of risk factors responsible for developing psychological problems in old age is quite extensive. Multiple chronic illnesses, especially those of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular origin (hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease) may have direct consequences to the brain, thereby producing cognitive disturbances and mental issues. Chronic pain is a perfect trigger of psychological distress in the old age. Hospital admission and any change of the environment (moving to a care setting) can also have a negative impact for the overall psychological well-being in the elderly. Social isolation, reduced income during retirement and loss of close family members are significant stressors to cope with – these may produce severe psychological disturbances leading to anxiety or depression. In fact, any severe and long-term illness, such as cancer, tends to affect the behavioral and psychological status of an older person.

Sadly, people of older age are also recognized as a population group prone to abuse. There is evidence that one in six older people will experience some type of abuse. Loss of dignity and respect is, not surprisingly, tightly linked with severe psychological issues.

Are there any symptoms?

Close family members and caregivers should be aware of signs and symptoms related to mental disorders in the elderly in order to seek professional help in a timely manner. When we see our loved ones age, occasional forgetfulness is usually not something to especially worry about. However, persistent loss of memory is a clear indication of a severe health condition needing medical attention.

Significant changes in appearance including changes in clothing may implicate a psychological and behavioral problem. Confusion, disorientation, inability to concentrate or make decisions represent early signs of cognitive decline and dementia. If you experience that your loved ones persistently ask the same questions, forget important dates, frequently misplace their belongings, this is a clear sign to refer them to a medical professional.

It is advisable to especially keep an eye on the feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness – such symptoms are linked with depression. Mood swings, ranging from e.g. being carefree to anxious are indicative of psychological issues. Inability to cope with everyday routine, problems in maintaining hygiene, home or garden should not be disregarded – they are often a sign of mental illness in older people.

Noticing any type of social withdrawal should be taken seriously. If your loved ones lose interest in social activities that they used to be excited about, or just avoid regular social engagements, you should consider seeking professional support for them.

Common psychological issues in old age

It is probably not that surprising that cognitive decline and dementia represent the most common mental health disorder in people older than 65 years. This severe and progressive disease affects approximately five million senior Americans or fifty million seniors worldwide. Concerning is the fact that this number will almost triple in the next twenty years. The disease by itself is estimated to take more lives than breast and prostate cancer combined. Any type of dementia can produce significant physical, emotional and economic pressure to patients and their caregivers. This is why an early diagnosis and appropriate care are essential for patients and their caregivers.

Depression and mood disorders are also quite frequent among seniors, however, the problem with this health condition is that it often goes undiagnosed and, therefore, untreated. Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 5% of elderly individuals suffer from depressive disorder. It is worth mentioning that some medications such as those for the treatment of increased blood pressure may cause depression. Sadness is not the only symptom. Lack of motivation and energy are the usual complaints linked to depression. Prolonged suffering and impairment in performing daily activities are well recognized consequences of untreated depression. Timely diagnosis, accompanied with adequate treatment, care and support is crucial for increasing the quality of life of elderly individuals.

Anxiety is also quite prevalent and may encompass a wide range of mental issues including obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder or phobias. Women are more prone to anxiety than men. Anxiety related disorders tend to occur after a stressful situation such as loss of a spouse or side by side to other chronic and prolonged disease. As in depression, anxiety disorders are usually overseen in elderly individuals, which may have severe implications to the overall well-being of seniors.

Sleep disorders including are common among seniors. Prolonged time needed to fall asleep (usually more than 45 minutes), trouble in maintaining sleep with frequent periods of being awake during night, as well as short overall duration of sleep represent clear signs of insomnia. Proper sleep is very important as it will reduce the probability of a severe psychological disorder. Maintaining a “sleep hygiene” reduces the need for sleep medications, which are sometimes responsible for memory impairment or poor daytime performance.

Is there a solution ( psychotherapy )?

It is important to mention that all of the above-mentioned disorders may coexist, and it is usually the case that seniors suffer from more then just one mental disorder. This is why they need all our support. WHO clearly recommends as a standard of care both psychological and medicinal treatment of seniors affected with mental disorders. This approach is essential for improving both physical and mental health and keeping an optimal quality of life of elderly individuals.

The demand for care and support of seniors with mental issues will increase as the elderly population grows. Providing a timely, high-quality professional help to older people directly reduces the number of complications that may arise as a consequence of mental disorders and prolongs the physical and emotional well-being of the elderly.

Solutions at CubaHeal

CubaHeal offers specialized programs for diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems in the elderly. An array of psychological therapies is available at CubaHeal facilities. Our team of health professionals can provide top-notch, evidence-based medical expertise. This includes diagnosis and treatment for our users, no matter the psychological condition and its stage.

You can find more info about our programs here. Long Term Elderly Care

If you need any additional info about our programs, feel free to Contact us.

CubaHeal in short words

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.


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