Estimated damages within the healthcare sector caused by the blockade, between April of 2016 and March 31, 2017, surpass 87 million dollars, according to Cuban doctors and medical students speaking in Havana.
With only a few days remaining before Cuba denounces the hostile U.S. policy within the United Nations, the National Assembly of People’s Power held a public hearing on the economic impact of the blockade on the population.
This policy “must not be addressed with lamentation, but rather with condemnation,” said Isabel Moya, PhD in Communication Sciences and director of the Mujer publishing house, during the meeting, held in Havana’s Oncology and Radiology Institute.
Moya, who has been treated at the hospital, commented that, at a time when the U.S. government is discouraging its citizens from traveling to Cuba, saying it is not a safe destination, Cuba is recognized internationally for its free, universal healthcare system, although the blockade “prevents us from receiving more specialized treatment.”
“We never lack a smile in the wards, nor medications, or food. We understand the costly effort being made by the Cuban state, I couldn’t be more grateful,” said Mayelín Jiménez, mother of a young cancer patient at the hospital.
Medical students Ariadna Palmero likewise condemned the blockade, which, she said, “prevents Cubans from accessing digital bibliographies with specialized information, and limits exchanges with student and professionals in the United States.”
This aggressive policy also affects the U.S. people, commented Dr. Jorge González Jiménez, president of the National Assembly’s Health and Sports standing committee, recalling that when Hurricane Katrina struck the United States in 2005, the U.S. government rejected help from the Henry Reeve Brigade which was fully prepared and equipped to aid the people of New Orleans.
Nor can we export medicines developed here with great effort. The blockade prevents us, said Tania Crombet, director of clinical trials at the Molecular Immunology Center.
The key to the success of Cuban health care lies in efforts made by Cuban medical personnel, overcoming all these limitations and achieving a life expectancy in the country of over 75 years, Dr. González stated.
But, he concluded, to have a public health system commensurate with the development of science in the world today, the unjust blockade must end.