THE damages caused by the U.S. blockade to the Cuban healthcare system are incalculable, but the island’s government is committed to finding the solution to any medical emergency, despite the expense, stated Pedro Luis Veliz, director of the National Council of Scientific Health Societies.
Many people are often unaware of the efforts undertaken by the country to provide free healthcare to the population, added Luis Veliz, also president of the Cuban Society of Intensive and Emergency Medicine.
In regards to the damages caused by the blockade, he explained that they can not be limited to a specific year, given that, from the very beginning of this unjust policy, the country has been unable to purchase U.S. made products or those which contain more than 10% of components made in that country.
This affects emergency, intensive care and ventilation equipment, as well as thermodynamic, cardiovascular, neurological monitoring apparatus and medicines, putting the Cuban healthcare system in a difficult position when a critical patient arrives, noted Veliz.
According to the director, the country goes to great lengths to maintain medical equipment so that it lasts longer, but when it reaches the end of its productive life it must be replaced.
He also noted that the country’s scientific societies are affiliated with more than 180 international organizations, but that delays occur in the payment of membership fees, given the difficulty of carrying out economic transactions – a direct consequence of the blockade.
Regarding the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S. Veliz commented that the political, social and economic impact of the process has yet to reach the Cuban people, but that there has been a resurgence of hope that the U.S. blockade will be completely eliminated.
The accumulated financial losses to the Cuban Public Health sector currently stand at around 2.5 billion dollars since the blockade was first imposed in 1960, while between April 2014 and April 2015 the sector saw 76,897,734 dollars in lost revenue.
However, as Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Relations Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, commented when presenting the country’s UN report on the need to end the blockade, its social impact is difficult to calculate.