Sunday, April 1, 2012

Expert Says Cuba Faces the Challenges of Aging

Expert Says Cuba Faces the Challenges of Aging

HAVANA – The head of the World Health Organization, China's Margaret
Chan, said in Cuba that the island is facing the challenges of an aging
population, an increase in serious illnesses like cancer, and the
maintenance of a sustainable, high quality health-care system.

"To continue with its system, (Cuba) must make it sustainable to fulfill
the expectations of the population and must do it effectively in order
to maintain its high quality," Chan told a press conference Friday in

The director-general of the WHO praised the comprehensive, human
perspective of the Cuban health-care system, as well as the national
authorities' "commitment" to the people's health since the 1959 revolution.

She warned that, just like many other countries, the island faces
challenges like that of an aging population and a surging rate of
cardiac disease, cancer and diabetes.

Chan arrived in Cuba on Monday for a meeting of the WHO's Global Policy
Group in Havana, where on Friday she was welcomed by President Raul
Castro, with whom she discussed several collaborative projects,
according to a report on state television.

This Friday Chan signed with Cuba's Public Health Minister Roberto
Morales a document covering the working agreement for the next four
years of the WHO, the Pan American Health Organization and Cuba.

Signed at the same ceremony was a letter of intent between the WHO and
the Inter-American Center of Social Security Studies to create a
University Consortium on Public Health and Aging for Latin America and
the Caribbean.

The consortium is anticipated to involve academic and service
institutions from several countries in the region such as Cuba, Mexico,
Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Costa Rica.

As part of the cooperation between the WHO and Cuba, Chan stressed
Saturday the importance of working on the transfer of technology,
experience and knowledge, so that other countries both inside and
outside the region can produce high quality, affordable generic medicines.

She also said that the WHO has been working for years on a number of
projects with Cuba, many of them in the biotechnology sector.

The director-general also took part in the National Geriatrics and
Gerontology Congress being held this week in the Cuban capital.

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