• Live
    • Audio Only
  • google plus
  • facebook
  • twitter
News > Cuba

The First Health Ministry in the World

  • Cuban health care system. Mar. 20, 2024.

    Cuban health care system. Mar. 20, 2024. | Photo: @BeatrizJUrrutia

Published 20 March 2024

Although Cuba was the first country in the world to have a ministry of health, it was not until the arrival of the Cuban revolution in 1959 that the service became free and universal, allowing the poor to access quality care.

At the beginning of the Republic, and after the end of the second North American military occupation, one of the institutions that created the new state was the Secretariat of Health and Welfare, thus marking a milestone in the world history of medicine.


Cuban Ozonated Soaps: Another Achievement of Science in Cuba

On January 28, 1909, Dr. Matías Duque Perdomo took office as Secretary of Health and Charity, after the homonymous Secretariat was established in Cuba, thus becoming the largest of the Antilles the first nation in the world to establish an institution that will ensure public health at the ministry level.

In this way, our public health organization remained unified, independent and elevated to ministerial status so that Cuba would have the priority of doing so throughout the world, since other countries achieved it years later. Thus, Austria raised its own in 1917; Czechoslovakia, in 1918; Great Britain, in 1919; France, in 1920; Dominican Republic and Lebanon, in 1921 and Turkey, in 1923, among the first.

The tweet reads:, " 1941: Doctor Matías Duque Perdomo dies in La Habana. Notable Cuban leprologist, first Minister of Public Health in the world."

It was composed of two national directorates, one for Health and one for Charity, and a National Board of Health and Charity. The Directorate of Health, in turn, consisted of 6 Negotiated: Central; Health Services of Havana; General and Quarantine Services; Special Hygiene; Statistics, Correspondence and Archives; and Personnel, Goods and Accounts.

Thus the Secretariat will be maintained until the entry into force of the 1940 Cuban Constitution, at which time it will be given a new structure and renamed the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, until the creation of a state agency that would allow free and universal access to public health during the Revolutionary government.

The one chosen to occupy that portfolio was the doctor Matías Duque Perdomo, former member of the Army Libertador Mambí, known as one of the most important doctors and scientific researchers of Cuba during the first half of the twentieth century.

Between January 1909 and October 1910, Duque Perdomo was in charge of the secretariat, until he was relieved of his post by Manuel Varona Suárez. He then served in other public offices, such as four years in the House of Representatives (1914) and also his participation as a delegate in the Constituent Assembly of 1928.

Post with no comments.