Cuba’s revolutionary solution to disease!
Mi Amigos, how are you? You know disease is a horrible thing, which is why prevention is better than cure. But let’s take a look at this rare exception, On what appears to be a residential street on the outskirts of Havana, the tan building with a guard gate seems out of place.
The building is the Centro de Immunologia Molecular, the Center for Molecular Immunology (CIM), known locally as a thriving hub of biotechnology.
Sliding glass doors lead to a modern-looking lobby with a single receptionist desk, some furniture, and a timeline boasting the centers achievements. A quote from Fidel Castro is emblazoned on the wall. This facility was his idea, after all — and Cuba would need it.
With much of the medical and pharmaceutical technology and treatments coming from the United States, Castros country wouldn have access to it due to an American embargo in place since the early 1960s. Cuba would have to make its own technologies and much of this has happened here, at the CIM.
In the building next to the lobby, researcher Camilo Rodriguez opens the door to a laboratory. Men and women are busy working inside, pipetting liquids into trays and putting tubes in whirling centrifuge machines. Since this place began operating in 1980, it has delivered some serious science. Rodriguez says Cuba has produced more than 70% of the medication needed in the country and produced their own vaccines for 21 different diseases.
According to the World Health Organization, the United States spends more than five times the amount per person on healthcare compared to Cuba, yet Cuba actually has a slightly better lifespan, on average, than the United States. People in Cuba live to an average of 80 years versus 79 years in the United States.
The island, the largest in the Caribbean, has a state-run health system. This is the only type allowed here. Much of the focus is on prevention; after all, it is typically much cheaper to prevent a disease than treat it. The care, including vaccines, is free.
But there is one vaccine, conceptualized and created here at CIM, which has caught the attention of several countries around the world, including the United States. A vaccine for lung cancer.
“Lung cancer is the third cause of disease by cancer here in Cuba,” Rodriguez says, sitting the in lab. “We have 4500 lung cancer patients each year. And in that same period of time, the same amount of patients die from this cause.”
Cancer, of any form, is the second leading cause of death in Cuba. Among men, the most common types of cancer seen are lung and prostate cancer. Lung cancer has become particularly prevalent in large part thanks to one of the countrys staples — tobacco. Or more specifically, cigars.
Lung Cancer is truly a deadly disease, one should take great care, specially with cigars and second hand smoking, everyone is at risk.
Author: Ricardo – Jamaica