Due to the prevalence of different types of flu, leptospirosis, conjunctivitis, dengue fever, pandemic influenza viruses AH1 N1, and other infections, the epidemiological situation in Cuba is giving r
Due to the prevalence of different types of flu, leptospirosis, conjunctivitis, dengue fever, pandemic influenza viruses AH1 N1, and other infections, the state of public health and sanitation in Cuba is giving rise to concern. Havana, Cuba. 26/10/2009.
According to one official, by October 15 the island had 695 confirmed cases of influenza AH1 N1, of which 203 were children. Dr. Louis Case Rancaño, the vice minister of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Ministry of Public Health also reported the deaths of three pregnant women.
"The acquisition of better diagnostic equipment and the analysis of fatal cases which happened earlier this year, have bumped up the death toll by another four people" Assure Estruch stated.
In addition to pregnant women, high risk groups include people with chronic heart disease, asthma, diabetes mellitus or obesity.
What's more, there has been a high concentration of Aedes aegypti mosquito throughout the country, mainly in the cities of Santiago de Cuba, Camaguey, Bayazo, Pinar del Rio and Nueva Gerona. There have also been outbreaks in the boroughs of Havana. Sources close to the campaign against the Aedes aegypti believe that the authorities' efforts have not succeeded in reducing the incidence of dengue fever. They maintain that there is too little understanding amongst the general population of the health risks. What's more, they claim Government officials are being negligent about maintaining adequate hygiene levels in the workplace. The authorities have avoided using the term 'epidemic' and are ignoring the statistics regarding the rising death toll, they claim.
About seven thousand beds for patients with the influenza virus, AH1 N1, are being set up in Villa Panamericana, Tarara and Marina Hemingway, a source revealed anonymously to MINSAP.
Hospitals in the city of Havana, cannot cope with the numbers, and pharmacies are running out of medication.
Public Health Minister Jose Ramon Balaguer Cabrera, conducted meetings with the health-staff of the 15 municipalities of Havana. He stated that two doctors and ten nurses should work in clinics in each locality.
The media, who are all controlled by the ruling Communist Party of Cuba, do not talk about these issues. Existing poor health standards have encouraged the spread of disease. Inadequate waste disposal infrastructure is part of everyday life. (Pictured left is a trash landfill near Avocado and Villegas Old Havana, this is a common sight in Cuba's polluted urban areas). Lack of drinking water forces inhabitants to fill containers with water and store them in their houses. These then become breeding grounds for mosquitoes, rats and other insects. (Pictured left, is an example in Old Havana of how outbreaks of the Aedes aegypti mosquito occur). There has been no systematic plan to tackle these problems and consequently these unhygienic urban conditions have contributed significantly to the worrying epidemiological situation.
Reporting from Havana, the Cuban journalist Carlos Serpa Maceira, a correspondent on Cuba's Miscellany.