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News > Latin America

Cuba Hosts Health Conference, Signs Agreement With WHO

  • Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel (R) with Director General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

    Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel (R) with Director General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. | Photo: Twitter @DrTedros

Published 24 April 2018

"Visiting Cuba reminds me that health for all is not a dream for the future... Cuba is an example for the world," the General Director of WHO said.

Cuba and the World Health Organization (WHO) have signed a cooperation strategy that will guide their work together through 2019.

The document focuses on mechanisms to promote international cooperation between Cuba and international health organizations to continue promoting advances in healthcare coverage.

Venezuela, Cuba Host First Meeting Since Miguel Diaz-Canel Elected President

Top representatives from WHO, as well as the Panamerican Health Organization (PAHO) were greeted Monday by President Miguel Diaz-Canel to kick off the Cuba 2018 International Health Convention, and the Health for All 2018 fair taking place in Havana. The convention brings together over 2,000 delegates from over 90 countries.

The Director-General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Tweeted: “Honored to join President Miguel Diaz-Canel for the opening of #CubaSalud2018. Visiting Cuba reminds me that #HealthForAll is not a dream for the future, it's not just an aspiration; it's a reality now. Cuba is an example for the world.”

While kicking off the event, Adhanom said that achieving universal health coverage around the world is one of the organization's goals.

On Monday, the WHO and PAHO took the opportunity in Cuba to kick off Vaccination Week in the Americas, a campaign to promote and build vaccination programs throughout the region. During the week, thousands of health workers will work to provide vaccinations and education in areas with poor access.

According to PAHO's website, “Cuba was chosen to host the regional launch of the campaign because of the great strides the country has made in vaccine development and in eliminating vaccine-preventable diseases including polio, neonatal tetanus, diphtheria, measles, rubella, congenital rubella syndrome, whooping cough and mums.”

Carissa Etienne, director of PAHO, said at the opening ceremony: “Cuba is a shining example of commitment, investment and passion for health.”

Cuba's Deputy Health Minister, Jose Angel Portal Miranda, said that in Cuba “vaccination is available to everyone, free of charge, and can be accessed from primary health care providers. As a result, vaccination coverage in Cuba for all vaccines currently stands at 98 percent, resulting in high population immunity.”

Cuba's vaccination campaigns led to it being the first country in the region to eliminate polio.

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