Due to the U.S. blockade, Cuba is very dependent on international aid in terms of receiving medicine and formula milk.
On Friday, Alena Douhan, the United Nations rapporteur for the impact of unilateral sanctions on human rights, denounced that coercive measures affect health systems by increasing mortality rates even "in countries like Cuba, with a health system very developed".
"The international community must act carefully in this case because Cuba is very dependent on UN aid in terms of receiving medicine, food, formula milk. It is not normal that a country has to survive based on humanitarian assistance," she said.
Douhan affirmed that the advances in Cuban healthcare are evident in the levels of life expectancy on the island, the development of prevention systems and vaccination campaigns, "but it is clear that not everything can be produced by Cuba, starting with equipment and raw materials for medicines".
The rapporteur participates this week in a debate at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) where she precisely presented a report on the impact of unilateral sanctions on the health systems of the sanctioned countries.
Over 1.6 million students have started another school year in Cuba. Officials and educators say the mounting economic hardships caused by the US blockade are causing shortages in school supplies but they will carry out Cuba’s constitutional guarantee of free, quality education. pic.twitter.com/hsWYR0qG74— BreakThrough News (@BTnewsroom) September 8, 2023
Although in many cases the sanctions include exemptions on the export of medicines and other basic goods that are often part of humanitarian aid, "many businesses remain reluctant to provide services or sell medicines," as these measures affect transportation or insurance.
"Pharmaceutical companies, equipment companies, transportation companies, insurance companies, donors or humanitarian organizations should not be victims of any type of punishment, restrictions or attacks on their reputation in retaliation for their efforts to deliver vital products," Douhan said.
Sanctions against countries often cause a reduction in life expectancy levels, or increases in the prevalence of certain diseases due to insufficient diagnostic and treatment services, she lamented, adding that some pharmaceutical firms have refused to fulfill their contractual obligations with sanctioned countries, "resulting in increases in mortality and suffering."