Revista Cubana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 0864-3466
FARINAS REINOSO, Ana Teresa; COUTIN MARIE, Gisele and RODRIGUEZ MILORD, Daniel. Historical reflection on health surveillance in Cuba. Rev. cub. salud pública [online]. 2009, vol.35, n.2. ISSN 0864-3466. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0864-34662009000200012.
Introduction Epidemiology as sociomedical discipline has the health situation of populations as object of basic study. The predominance of a population-based approach strengthens the role of preventive and promotion interventions in population groups. One of the fundamental working areas is health surveillance that represents an essential tool for decision-making in the public health sphere. Objectives To characterize the contribution of "surveillance" to the Cuban Public Health from a historical perspective. Methods A historical research study was carried out in which empirical methods as the documentary analysis and the interview were combined; the theoretical sources of information were the documents about public health and epidemiology from the Communist Party´s program as well as the speeches delivered by comrade Fidel Castro Ruz. Results The surveillance activities started in Cuba since the colonial times but mainly limited to infectious diseases. During the bourgeois republic period, a number of surveillance actions were taken in the first 20 years, but they gradually declined because the governments of that period showed little interest on the Cuban people's health conditions. After the triumph of the Revolution, new surveillance systems were designed, which were decisively involved in the main health achievements accomplished by the country. Conclusions Since the "epidemiological surveillance" focused on the individual was started, this activity has going through different phases until reaching a more comprehensive definition nowadays since it includes environmental surveillance, risk factors, disasters, living and service conditions, that is, it became "health surveillance". Its impact on public health is recognized by many authors and the participation of the whole society is a novel element that presently distinguishes it.
Keywords : Epidemiological surveillance; health surveillance; Cuba.