Heberprot-P, A Cuban Biotechnology Example to the World

Havana, Apr 2 (Prensa Latina) Heberprot-P has become in the last three years the leader product of the Cuban Center of Genetic Immunology and Biotechnology (CIGB), experts of the sector told the news agency Prensa Latina today.

Doctor Carlos Mella, expert in Market Intelligence of the Marketing Company of Biotechnological and Pharmaceutical Products of the CIGB, Heber-Biotec, said the medicine made the difference at international level.

Heber-Biotec, founded in 1991, is one of the speakers at the 2nd International Conference Technology and Health, with Havana’s Conference Center as venue.

Heberprot-P is used to treat piercing ulcers on diabetic foot, an injury really hard to fight, at the extent that most patients with this injury lose their affected leg.

Mella explained that before having the mentioned medicine, the CIGB worked on other research lines. The closest treatment to skin ulcers was an cream, only for external use that is still produced today, but used for burns and related injuries.

Arts graduate Carmen Marrero, sales manager of the division of European countries at Heber-Biotec, reported to Prensa Latina that Heberprot-P had been already registered in 19 Latin American countries, North Africa and Asia.


Modificado el ( miércoles, 02 de abril de 2014 )

UN Chief Highlights Cuban Health Achievements

Havana, Jan 28 (Prensa Latina) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon highlighted here today the achievements made by Cuba’s health system and the assistance and solidarity offered by Cuban doctors worldwide.

“You must feel happy to be trained in the most advanced school of Medicine in the world,” he said in a meeting with students of the Havana-based Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM).

“I ask you to learn and take this opportunity to study in Cuba and work with me and with the United Nations to make this world a healthier, stronger place, with no children starving or people dying from preventable diseases such as malaria,” said Ban Ki-moon.

In his visit to ELAM, accompanied by the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Barcenas, Ban highlighted Cuban health results, including a low infant mortality rate, a higher life expectancy and a universal coverage, which he considered an example to many around the world.

He thanked Cuba and ELAM for their great contribution to South-South cooperation and solidarity worldwide.

He said he has visited many poor communities which have been victims of natural disasters and in many he has witnessed a common factor: the presence of Cuban doctors treating the population.

Ban and his entourage were received by Cuban Health Minister Roberto Morales and Rector of ELAM, Dr. Rafael Gonzalez.

The ElAm gives free training to youngsters from over 100 ethnic groups from poor families and remote areas in 123 countries.

At least 22,155 youngsters have graduated from ELAM, including 17,816 from Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Ban Ki-moon arrived to Havana yesterday. He was invited to attend the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), in session here.


Modificado el ( martes, 28 de enero de 2014 )

Cuba No. 1 in Density of Healthcare Workforce

Washington, Nov 12 (Prensa Latina) Cuba ranks first among countries with the greatest density of healthcare providers, reporting 135 doctors per 10,000 inhabitants, followed by the United States with 125, and Canada with 96, according to a 2013 Pan-American Health Organization report.

Haiti led the nations below the minimum standard with only 4 doctors per 10,000 inhabitants, followed by Guyana (11), Guatemala (13) and Bolivia (14), the report adds.

The report, titled A Universal Truth: No Health Without a Workforce, also analyzes challenges in distribution, migration and training of health professionals.

The report says that about 70 percent of countries in the Americas have sufficient, and in some cases more than enough, medical staff to provide basic health care services for their populations.

The problem is ensuring that everyone, especially people in vulnerable communities and remote areas, have access to well-trained, culturally sensitive and competent health staff, said Carissa F. Etienne, PAHO director.

“The best strategy for achieving this is to strengthen multidisciplinary professional teams at the primary health care level,” she added.

The report highlights that the number of health workers worldwide needs to grow by more than seven million. It also suggest a better geographical distribution, since in many countries, these providers are concentrated in big cities.



Care for Pregnant Diabetics in Cuba: Achievements and Challenges

Care for Pregnant Diabetics in Cuba: Achievements and Challenges

Training doctors for Cuba and the world

Training doctors for Cuba and the world

Lisandra Fariñas Acosta

WITH a commitment to continue guaranteeing the training and retraining of human resources required by the country’s public health system, the 2013-14 university year was officially opened at the Havana University of Medical Sciences (UCMH) in an event at the capital’s Salvador Allende Student Residency.

Jorge González Pérez, UCMH rector, affirmed that the training of human resources in order to maintain the country’s health system is an expression of the will of the state and a priority of the University, which provides 13 career courses and receives 10,475 undergraduates.

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Cuba creates four anti-cancer vaccines, media ignores it

Monday, February 25, 2013

That Cuba has already developed four vaccines or inoculations against different types of cancer is without doubt important news for humanity. The World Health Organisation says each year about 8 million people die from this illness.

However, the international mainstream media have almost totally ignored this news.

Last year, Cuba patented the first therapeutic vaccine against advanced lung cancer in the world, called CIMAVAX-EGF. In January, the second one, called Racotumomab, was announced.

Clinical testing in 86 countries shows that these vaccines, although they don’t cure the illness, do managed to reduce tumours and allow for a stable stage of the illness, thereby increasing hope and quality of life.

The Molecular Immunology Centre of Havana, a Cuban state organisation, is the creator of all these vaccines.

In 1985 it developed the vaccine for meningitis B, the only one in the world, and later others that fight hepatitis B and dengue. For years, the centre has been conducting research to develop vaccines against AIDS-HIV.

The other Cuban state-run centre, Laboratories LABIOFAM, has developed homeopathic medicine for cancer such as VIDATOX, created from the blue scorpion’s venom. Cuba exports these medicines to 26 countries, and takes part in joint companies with China, Canada, and Spain.

All of this goes against the well-enforced stereotype, reinforced by the media silence regarding advances achieved by Cuba and other global south (so-called Third World) countries, that vanguard medical research takes place only in so-called developed countries.

Undoubtedly, the Cuban state obtains an economic benefit from the international sale of these pharmaceutical products. However, its philosophy of investigation and commercialisation is diametrically opposed to the business practices of the large pharmaceutical industry.

Nobel Prize for Medicine winner Richard J Roberts recently denounced the pharmaceutical industry for orienting its research not to curing illnesses, but to developing medicine for chronic ailments, which is much more economically profitable.

Roberts suggested the illnesses that are particular to poorer countries, because of their low profitability, simply are not researched. That is why 90% of the budget for research is aimed at illnesses suffered by 10% of the world’s population.

Cuba’s public medicine industry, even though it is one of the main sources of foreign currency for the country, is guided by radically different principles.

In the first place, its research is aimed at, in a large part, developing vaccines that prevent illnesses and as a consequence, reduce the population’s spending on medicine.

In an article in the prestigious magazine Science, researchers from Stanford University (California), Paul Drain and Michele Barry, said Cuba has better health indicators than the United States, despite spending up to 20 times less on the sector.

The reason for this is the absence, in the Cuban model, of commercial pressures and encouragement by pharmaceutical companies, and a successful strategy of educating the population about preventative healthcare.

Furthermore, traditional and natural therapies, such as herbal medicine, acupuncture, hypnosis and many others — practices that are not very profitable for the makers of medicine — have been integrated into the free public health system of the island for years.

Also, in Cuba, medicine is distributed via the national public hospital network as something that is either free or highly subsidised, thanks to the income from exporting it.

The Cuban medicine industry also barely assigns any of its budget to publicity. In the case of the multinationals, publicity spending is higher than what they invest in actual research.

Finally, Cuba promotes the production of generic medicine. These are made available in other poor countries and to the World Health Organisation at much lower prices than those offered by the global medicine industry.

But these measures, removed from market rules, generate a lot of pressure from the pharmaceutical industry.

Recently, the Ecuadorian government announced it would buy a large number of medicines from Cuba in exchange for scholarships for Ecuadorian students to study in Cuba and for the support provided by Cuban specialists in .

Protests against the move by the Ecuadorian Association of Pharmaceutical Laboratories were immediately converted into a media campaign, spreading the message of the supposed bad quality of Cuban medicine.

On the other hand, many analysts see the international pharmaceutical industry as being behind the coup in Honduras in 2009. The elected government of Manuel Zelaya, in the framework of agreements made within the Cuba- and Venezuela-founded Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our Americas to which Honduras then belonged, aimed to substitute Cuban generic medicine for imports from multinationals.

The US blockade against Cuba imposes big obstacles to the international commercialisation of Cuban pharmaceutical products, but it is also directly detrimental to US citizens. For example, each year the 80,000 diabetics in the US who suffer the amputation of their toes don’t have access to the Cuban vaccine Heperprot P, which would prevent such amputations.

The Chemistry Nobel Prize winner Peter Agre recently said: “Cuba is a magnificent example of how scientific knowledge and research can be integrated.”

Irina Bokova, general director of UNESCO, said she was impressed by Cuba’s scientific achievements and her organisation is willing to promote them to the rest of the world.

The inevitable question is, will she count on the essential collaboration of the international mainstream media to spread this information?

[Original can be found at www.cubainformacion.tv. Translated for Green Left Weekly by Tamara Pearson.]

– See more at: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/53426#sthash.ygktOFYz.dpuf

International Health Organization Official Praises Cuba Dengue Control Strategy

Havana, Cuba, Aug 14.- The coordinator of the Neglected Tropical Transmissible Diseases with the Pan-American and World Helath Organizations, Guatemalan Luis Gerardo Castellanos praised in Havana the Cuban experience in vector control and the island’s strengths in the field, which helps the international organization take that practice to other nations.

In statements to the Cuban News Agency, Castellanos said that Dengue, a disease transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, has recently affected over 1.5 million people in The Americas, though the number of fatal cases has decreased.

Dengue is a global health issue at present, said the expert and stressed the need for community participation to achieve appropriate preventive measures against a disease, which is difficult to treat. He said that although vaccine projects are under studies, an effective injectable drug will not be on the market till 2017.

Castellanos is attending the 13 International Course on Dengue Control, underway till August 23 at Havana’s Pedro Kouri Tropical Medicine Institute. He said the Cuban institution is collaborating with the Pan-American and World Health Organizations not only on the dengue issue, but also in ways to fight other conditions such as Leptospirosis, T.B., Leprosy and HIV-Aids.

Meanwhile, Cuba’s first deputy health minister Jose Angel Portal stressed the significance of the subjects on the event’s agenda related to the current epidemiological reality, Dengue prevention control methods and surveillance, the fight on Dengue-transmitting mosquito and the impact by climate change on the propagation of the disease.

The Cuban government official said the international course will allow considering the strengthening of capacities in Latin America and other regions of the world to deal with any emerging dengue epidemic in the world. (ACN)