"This figure worries all officials responsible for the health and life of pregnant women and babies. With experts, we will analyze measures to protect them more effectively," Diaz-Canel said.
While only one Cuban expectant mother developed severe COVID-19 symptoms in 2020, about 320 pregnant women and postpartum mothers have been admitted to intensive care units so far this year.
The National Maternal and Child Care Program (PAMI) Director Noemi Causa explained that pregnant women are more vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 given that they undergo transformations in their respiratory system when the growth of the uterus displaces the diaphragm upwards.
"During pregnancy, the woman keeps on giving oxygen and nutrients to the fetus, who requires an additional oxygen supply from the mother regardless of what conditions she is in," Causa stressed, adding that over-30-year-old pregnant women with high blood pressure or diabetes could develop stronger COVID-19 symptoms.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 in this high-risk population, health authorities admitted women over 26 weeks pregnant to maternity homes. Pregnant or postpartum women have also received Nasalferon drops, which is a Cuban drug that activates the immune system.
As part of this strategy, health professionals have also sped up COVID-19 vaccination in expecting mothers, 89.1 percent of whom have already received the first dose of the Abdala or Sovereign vaccines.
"Let us comply with each of the epidemiological measures designed to minimize contagion. Let us be responsible, especially at home, where we can do so much to protect the most vulnerable," Causa concluded.