On the afternoon of October 20, Cuba and the United States signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the sphere of cancer control, research, monitoring, follow-up and assessment.
The agreement, signed by Dr. Roberto Morales Ojeda, Cuban minister of Public Health, and Sylvia Burwell, U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services, involves the implementation of collaboration projects, meetings, conferences and workshops, as well as promoting exchanges of information and best practices, research, monitoring, follow-up, and forms of cooperation related to the control of cancer, a major health problem in both countries and across the world.
After the signing, Burwell, on an official visit to the island, expressed gratitude for the hospitality with which she was received, while also noting that “This agreement on cancer research and control is very important because we know it is a big issue in both countries and we are excited to work together to make progress in this field.” The U.S. official also highlighted that the issues was addressed by Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro when they met on March 21, in Havana. She went on to stress the importance of joint efforts toward finding new avenues through which to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, as well as to determine the best tools to share.
Meanwhile, Morales Ojeda noted the continued existence of limitations which hinder cooperation efforts, such as the U.S. blockade of Cuba, which negatively impacts the island’s healthcare sector and affects bilateral cooperation.
“We reiterate the willingness of the Cuban government and the Ministry of Public Health to work together with U.S. institutions on cooperation actions, which can also provide great benefits for the region and world, confident that this will contribute to the most important aim: the health of our peoples,” he noted.
According to Dr. Néstor Marimón, head of the Ministry of Public Health’s International Relations department, Burwell expressed an interest in opportunities to carry out training programs in specific areas; as well as issues related to cancer awareness and prevention, the manufacture of medicines, and population aging.