Despite being over 120 years old, the General Calixto García University Hospital has been revived through a series of repair and maintenance works being undertaken across several areas, which are now in their final stages.
The secondary-level care facility is spread over 13 hectares and includes 37 medical departments spread over 29 pavilions, including emergencies, surgery and intensive care, all of which are attended by highly qualified and experienced health professionals.
The institution, which received over 150,000 admittances and an equal number of referrals in 2015, and attended more than 200,000 emergency cases, provides vital and highly efficient comprehensive medical and specialist paramedical care on a daily basis; with a focus on preventative-curative care and physical rehabilitation.
Renovations began in 2010 with the aim of providing top-quality service to the Cuban population. Meanwhile 15 repair and maintenance initiatives have been undertaken in areas around the hospital since the beginning of 2016; including the surgical unit, various wards, the X-ray and imaging department, canteen, parks, sidewalks and roads.
Repairs have been carried out on water and mains supplies, fittings replaced, areas expanded and renovated, equipment installed and façades painted, to improve the aesthetics and comfort of the hospital, issues important to the population.
Dr. Carlos Alberto Martínez Blanco, director of the hospital, explained that construction works are being completed on the psychiatric pavilion while a neurosurgical ward has also been opened.
He highlighted that only air-conditioning units remain to be installed in new referral areas, which will contribute to improving intra-hospital organization.
Meanwhile, Martínez Blanco stated that seven operating rooms were renovated, with special attention paid to exterior repairs in order to create a more appealing atmosphere around the facility.
He went on to explain that urban design concepts respecting the institution’s colonial architecture were considered, while improvements were also made to recreational areas for patients, visitors and workers.
“We built three parks,” noted doctor Martínez Blanco, “and are still working on recuperating green areas, however outdoor lighting has now been replaced and the sidewalks and footpaths repaired. We ask the population and workers to take care of and protect all the renovated spaces to ensure greater durability.”
Belkis García Leyva, accompanying 25 year old neurosurgical patient Jorge González García from the municipality of Güines, Mayabeque province, agrees.
Both praised the conditions of the hospital, highlighting its cleanliness, acclimatization and the excellent care provided by doctors and nurses.
Juan Miguel Góngora, son of 65 year old patient Juan Góngora Jerez, suffering from a brain tumor, shares a similar opinion.
Both live in the municipality of Yara in the eastern province of Granma and praised the renovation works undertaken at the hospital, noting the importance of taking care of such facilities.
The Calixto García is also home to the Gastroenteritis Institute, founded in 1966 as a tertiary level research center carrying out investigations into digestive disorders through medical treatment using new technologies and experienced staff.
Dr. Caridad Ruenes Domech noted that works at the institute began in 2010 with positive results seen to date, including the expansion of facility areas and the modernization of the central and surrounding buildings linked to referrals and hospital administration.
The gastroenteritis specialist and MSc explained that “General repairs were made to the clinical laboratory, endoscope and surgery departments, the pharmacy, library and teaching area, as well as the admittance wards. Works are currently underway to extend the basement, where the laundry room, workers’ dining hall and electro-medicine services are located.”
Every month the hospital treats between 3,000 – 4,000 patients across different specialist departments and performs 300 endoscopic and keyhole surgical procedures, which help to improve the patient’s condition and avoid costly operations.
In order to achieve this, the hospital has highly-trained healthcare professionals with works published in international medical journals, and offers a broad range of teaching methods in order to share their experiences; ratifying the institution as a designated Center of Technological Innovation and Excellence.
Similar efforts are carried out at the Longevity, Aging and Health Research Center (CITED), located on the peripheries of the hospital grounds and responsible for conducting research into the country’s older adult population in order to provide this sector with a better quality of life.
The basement and exterior areas of the facility were renovated, in addition to the colonial-style park, pharmacy and outpatient services.
Director of the Center, Dr. Humberto Arencibia Pérez, noted that close attention to detail was paid to repairs given the advanced age of patients, with mobility, hearing and sensory limitations.
As such hallways were fitted with handrails, comfortable furniture was installed and areas were modified to be accessible and user-friendly.
All these changes are geared toward consolidating the prestige of the General Calixto García University Hospital as a public institution at the service of the people, a national and international reference for medical care; and developing an efficient and participatory management system deserving of the title of exemplary institution.