• October Surprises Editorial

  • About the Contributors About the Contributors

  • Science, Passion & Compassion vs. Cancer: Tania Crombet MD PhD, Director of Clinical Research Molecular Immunology Center, Havana Interview

    Gorry, Conner
  • Cuba’s Strategy for Alzheimer Disease and Dementia Syndromes Policy & Practice

    Bosch-Bayard, Rodolfo I.; Llibre-Rodríguez, Juan J.; Fernández-Seco, Alberto; Borrego-Calzadilla, Carmen; Carrasco-García, Mayra R.; Zayas-Llerena, Tania; Moreno-Carbonell, Carmen R.; Reymond-Vasconcelos, Ana G.

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT Dementia is a great challenge to public health in Cuba due to its impact on society and families. Cuba’s National Intervention Strategy for Alzheimer Disease and Dementia Syndromes is designed to address this challenge. The Strategy includes working guidelines for primary and secondary care, education about rights of people with cognitive impairment, professional development, research, and health promotion and dementia prevention. An associated action plan, focused on primary care, includes proposals for creation of memory clinics, day centers and comprehensive rehabilitation services for cognitive stimulation. Short-term measures proposed include increasing early detection; creating a dementia morbidity and mortality registry; promoting professional training; providing support for families; and promoting basic and clinical research on dementia. Medium-term proposals aim to reduce dementia incidence and mortality by controlling risk factors and promoting healthy lifestyles, offering new treatment options and optimizing early detection. A set of indicators has been developed to evaluate strategy implementation. With this strategy, Cuba joins the small number of developing countries that have responded to WHO’s call to improve care for patients with dementia and alleviate its impact on society and families.
  • Disability-adjusted Life Years for Diabetes in Cuban Children and Adolescents, 1990-2010 Original Research

    Domínguez-Alonso, Emma

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION Shifts in diabetes onset to earlier ages, globally and in Cuba, signify greater risk of early complications and premature death, with consequent economic and social repercussions for families and health systems. OBJECTIVE Describe the trend in diabetes burden in Cuban children and adolescents in the period 1990 to 2010, in terms of disability-adjusted life years. METHODS A descriptive epidemiological study was conducted of diabetes burden in Cuba, analyzing the years 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010 for the age group 0–19 years. Disability-adjusted life years were obtained from the sum of potential years of life lost plus years lived with disability. The first is calculated based on total deaths in the country in which diabetes was recorded as underlying cause; the second from the product of severity, as assigned to diabetes in similar studies, and incidence and average duration, provided by the DISMOD II program, which estimates six internally consistent epidemiological indicators. RESULTS Mortality indicators improved, with a decrease in the rate of potential years of life lost in boys from 21.9/100,000 population in 1990 to 0 in 2010, and in girls from 38.8/100,000 in 1990 to 4.9/100,000 in 2010 (1% of disability-adjusted life years in girls in 2010, corresponding to one death). In contrast, years lived with disability increased by 134.5% in boys and 156.4% in girls. The net result was that disability-adjusted life years increased by >100% in both sexes (from 137.2 to 321.9/100,000 in boys and from 157.3 to 403.3/100,000 in girls, increases of 102.3% and 108.1%, respectively). CONCLUSIONS Disability-adjusted life years lost for diabetes in Cuban children and adolescents have increased, due to disability, while mortality has decreased.
  • Patterns of Physical Activity and Associated Factors in Cubans Aged 15–69 Years Original Research

    Varona-Pérez, Patricia; Pérez-Jiménez, Dianellys; Alfonso-Sagué, Karen; García-Pérez, Rosa M.; Bonet-Gorbea, Mariano; Fernández-González, Jesús

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION Systematic measurement of population physical activity levels is an important component of public health surveillance. OBJECTIVES Describe patterns of physical activity in the Cuban population aged 15–69 years and identify factors associated with regular physical activity. METHODS A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted using a complex sampling design, representative of urban and rural areas, sex and age groups, including 7915 individuals. The International Physical Activity Questionnaire (short format) was applied. The population was classified as active, irregularly active and sedentary, according to sex, age, marital status, education, skin color, employment and perception of health risk related to physical inactivity or overweight. Percentages, odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated and a multinomial regression model was fitted with active persons as the reference category. RESULTS Approximately 71% of the population self-classified as active, 23% as sedentary and 5.9% as irregularly active. Women had a higher probability of being sedentary (OR 2.51, CI 2.12–2.98) and irregularly active (OR 2.56, CI 95% 1.87–3.49). The probability of being sedentary increased with age (OR 1.19, CI 1.12–1.26), and also with the condition of being a homemaker, retired, or unemployed. Perceiving overweight as a high risk to health reduced likelihood of inactivity (OR 0.49, CI 0.29–0.83). CONCLUSIONS Some 7 of 10 Cubans are physically active. The groups with the highest probability of inactivity and irregular activity and associated factors have been identified through national application (for the first time) of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. The results should be taken into account for implementation of specialized strategies to promote systematic physical activity.
  • Professional Competencies of Cuban Specialists in Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine Original Research

    Véliz-Martínez, Pedro L.; Jorna-Calixto, Ana R.; Oramas-González, René

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION The quality of medical training and practice reflects the competency level of the professionals involved. The intensive care and emergency medicine specialty in Cuba has not defined its competencies. OBJECTIVES Identify the competencies required for specialty practice in intensive care and emergency medicine. METHODS The study was conducted from January 2014 to December 2015, using qualitative techniques; 48 professionals participated. We undertook functional occupational analysis, based on functions defined in a previous study. Three expert groups were utilized: the first used various group techniques; the second, the Delphi method; and the third, the Delphi method and a Likert questionnaire. RESULTS A total of 73 specific competencies were defined, grouped in 11 units: 44 in the patient care function, 16 in management, 7 in teaching and 6 in research. A competency map is provided. CONCLUSIONS The intensive care and emergency medicine specialty competencies identified will help improve professional standards, ensure health workforce quality, improve patient care and academic performance, and enable objective evaluation of specialists’ competence and performance.
  • Pediatric Gastroenterology in Cuba: Evolution and Challenges Review Article

    Castañeda-Guillot, Carlos

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION The professional practice of pediatric gastroenterology arose in Cuba as an expression of the specialty’s development internationally and Cuba’s new strategies in public health, and in response to national needs for health care expertise in digestive diseases of infants, older children and adolescents. OBJECTIVES Describe the history of pediatric gastroenterology’s development in Cuba since its inception at the National Gastroenterology Institute in the early 1970s, its contributions, and efforts to extend it to pediatric hospitals throughout Cuba. EVIDENCE ACQUISITION This is a historical review based on document analysis. Institutional sources from the National Gastroenterology Institute and Ministry of Public Health were reviewed, as well as international and national literature on the history of pediatric gastroenterology and unpublished texts since its emergence in 1972. DEVELOPMENT Although pediatric gastroenterology has not been formally recognized as a medical specialty in Cuba, there have been important achievements in establishing a network of specialized health care services for digestive diseases of children and adolescents. Gastrointestinal endoscopy and other auxiliary diagnostic modalities have been introduced for children and play a major role in clinical trials and research. This article describes the international context that promoted the specialty’s development in Cuba. Reference is made to specialized training from its initial stages in 1972, its consolidation as an emerging discipline in Cuban medicine, and its diffusion in Latin American and Caribbean countries. Professional development and specialized training to meet health human resource needs in pediatric hospitals are described, as well as Cuban participation in the Latin American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. National and international milestones, publications, awards and recognitions that indicate advances despite difficulties are also presented. CONCLUSIONS Since 1972, there have been major strides in the development of pediatric gastroenterology practice in Cuba. The establishment of a national network of specialized services in pediatric hospitals throughout Cuba has provided quality health care for digestive diseases of childhood. Pediatric gastroenterology’s development and achievements in healthcare and research are such that it deserves official recognition as a medical specialty Cuba.
  • Using Primary Care to Address Violence against Women in Intimate Partner Relationships: Professional Training Needs Perspective

    Torralbas-Fernández, Aida; Calcerrada-Gutiérrez, Marybexy

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT Unified, prevention- and community-oriented, Cuba’s National Health System is well positioned to address social problems such as gender violence against women. It is sometimes taken for granted that family doctors, family nurses and psychologists in the health system should be able to deal with such cases. However, some studies among these professionals have revealed misconceptions about intimate partner violence, an insufficient understanding of its causes, and greater tolerance of psychological violence than of physical and sexual violence. Cuba needs to train family doctors and clinical psychologists who are knowledgeable about the subject so that they can take part in the development and implementation of intersectoral education and prevention policies and programs, provide assistance to women who have been victims of violence, and work together with community members to create support networks that serve as monitoring mechanisms. Primary care is the ideal setting for raising awareness of the need for greater intersectoral action to systematically address violence against women.
  • Minimally Conscious State: Evolution of Concept, Diagnosis and Treatment Perspective

    Hodelín-Tablada, Ricardo

    Abstract in English:

    ABSTRACT The study of consciousness disorders is a scientific challenge, and clinical differentiation among the various sorts of alterations in consciousness is difficult. Persistent vegetative state was defined in 1972, but years later cases appeared in which diagnosed patients showed signs of cognitive activity, and therefore could not be considered vegetative. Minimally conscious state was defined in 2002. This article discusses minimally conscious state based on a literature review and the author’s clinical experience. A brief historical outline is given, starting from 1886 when Horsley analyzed level of consciousness. The article reviews criteria for defining minimally conscious state, as well as the differential diagnosis from persistent vegetative state, brain death, coma, locked-in syndrome and akinetic mutism. Modern discoveries of residual cognitive functioning and new neural correlates have contributed to increased knowledge of this condition. Regardless, minimally conscious state continues to be a challenge for neuroscientists around the world, with issues still to be resolved.
  • Cuba: Time to Expand Health in All Policies Viewpoint

    Serrate, Pastor Castell-Florit; Más-Bermejo, Pedro
Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba Oakland - California - United States
E-mail: editors@medicc.org