With the aim of highlighting the achievements made in research, scientific production and the introduction and extension of technology in clinical and surgical care, Cuba awards the Annual Health Prize in recognition of sector professionals who have made significant contributions to the sciences.
The research paper entitled “First epidemic of hemorrhagic dengue in the Americas, 1981: new insights into the causative agent”, by Dr. Rosmeri Rodríguez Roche, of the Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine, was awarded the Grand Prize, as the complete genome sequence of the dengue virus type 2 epidemic of the eighties was discovered.
“I have been working on this project for over 20 years, we have demonstrated evidence of deliberate introduction of the disease into our country, with destructive ends, causing the death of 158 people, including 101 children,” the virologist told Granma International.
A total of 315 doctoral theses, master theses, specialty findings and other works in which the results of experiments applied in polyclinics, hospitals, specialized centers and universities were presented, were submitted to this 40th edition of the contest.
In the science degree thesis category, Dr. Juan Jesús Libre was awarded for his paper “Epidemiology, diagnosis and impact of dementia and other chronic noncommunicable diseases on Cuban seniors.”
In addition, Dr. Rigoberto García Gómez was awarded for the research paper: “Effectiveness of dermoscopy in the diagnosis of malignancy of circumscribed lesions on skin, mucous membranes and skin appendages”, based on an initial study on the diagnostic efficacy of this approach in Cuba.
“Working in the sciences in Cuba requires a lot of heart and a lot of communication with patients. We do science with conscience, focused on easing and curing the ills of the patient with the rational management of resources, aware of the full support of our government to introduce and generalize innovative methods,” stated Rigoberto García Gómez, a dermatologist at the Hermanos Ameijeiras Clinical and Surgical Hospital.
Other experts received awards in the 10 categories of the competition, including basic research, applied research, research on health systems and services, scientific articles, papers on medical education, international publications and books.
Eleven candidates were put forward for the Prize for Scientific Merit 2015, for their lifetime achievements. This time the prize was granted to the Doctors of Sciences Ernesto Montejo Torre and Porfirio Hernández Ramírez, exemplary of the new generations of scientists.
The two prominent hematologists have won countless awards for their studies in regenerative medicine and cell therapy for the treatment of leukemia, anemia and lymphoma, specializing in the introduction of stem cells to treat tissue damage in orthopedic, angiology and ophthalmology diseases, among others.
“Our concern is that these procedures be of benefit to the entire world population, regardless of their economic resources,” Professor and Senior Research Fellow, Porfirio Hernández Ramírez, stated, adding that “in Cuba the research results are already generalized across the provinces of the country and medical protocols to reach all those in need are being introduced.”
The awarding of these prizes is an expression of the scientific development achieved by the Cuban public health system, one of the triumphs of the Revolution, Health Minister Roberto Morales Ojeda stated.
He stressed that professionals and technicians of the sector, and especially researchers and educators, have played a leading role, and this event is an example of the impact of science on the Cuban health system.
“High priority topics for the sector were presented, distinguished by their depth, rigor and applicability. The work of the various juries lasted several months, characterized by long debates, highlighting the professionalism, dedication and scientific nature of the work of these multidisciplinary teams,” the minister explained.
In his closing remarks, Morales Ojeda emphasized Fidel Castro’s remarks on January 15, 1960, when he stated: “The future of this country must be a future of men of science, men of thought.”