45,174 Venezuelans received free medical assistance in Cuba

News from Cuba | Tuesday, 30 November 2010

“It has been 10 years after the endorsement of the Comprehensive Health Agreement Cuba-Venezuela and the results can be clearly seen: 45,174 Venezuelan affected by different pathologies went to Cuba in order to receive assistance for their health problems.”Explained the coordinator of the cooperation program Jhonny Ramos.

Ramos assured that there are cases of patients who were declared terminally ill in health centers of Venezuela. These people suffered from cancer, CVAs and conditions in their vital organs. They underwent a proper medical treatment in Cuba and now enjoy perfect health and have a better quality of life.

He explained that one of the conclusions about the neglection of patients with serious diseases is that a significant number of Venezuelan doctors have a mercantilist conception of health. Thus, doctors send home patients who cannot afford a medical treatment.

“In Venezuela, there are excellent doctors, they are among the best of the world. The difference stems from the point of view in which medicine is considered. Venezuelan doctors had the idea of making money, while in Cuba they have the idea to help those human beings in need.” Ramos pointed out.

“We understand than a professional of medicine has studied to have a better life but a persons health cannot be priced, and that is what has occurred in our health care system.” He said.

However, thanks to the agreement endorsed by the Venezuelan and Cuban governments, the philosophical conception of health in Venezuela is being transformed through the education of new professionals of the Latin American Medicine School (ELAM).

More than 1,000 graduates are doing postgraduate courses in Cuba and Venezuela to date. A group of these postgraduates have joined the flagship binational health program: Mission Barrio Adentro.

“The directors Mission Barrio Adentro are Venezuelan. There are currently around 10,000 students in the last year of the medicine school and all of them are professionals with another way to conceive medicine, as socialist medicine, in which people is not treated as merchandise.”

Another decade to go

On November 10th, President Hugo Chávez Frías and Raúl Castro Ruz ratified the comprehensive agreement for another decade.

Ramos stated that this new phase has the aim to create centers of specialized assistance. The main objective during the first ten years was to consolidate Mission Barrio Adentro in its phases I, II and III, which include primary health care, comprehensive care, Centers of Comprehensive Diagnosis, Comprehensive Rehabilitation Rooms and restoration of public hospitals.

“The specialized centers allow not only to give assistance to the patients, but also to contribute to the education of the human resources. We are currently working on the creation of the Oncological Hospital, the National Center for Neurological Restoration and the National Center for the Treatment of Addictions.” Ramos remarked.

The agreement will enter a new phase in 2011: “10,000 Venezuelan doctors will join the program. They are going to progressively replace our Cuban brothers because the health system is intended to be managed by Venezuelans.” He added.

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