Cuba’s latest medical breakthrough

The news that the Obama administration and Cuba will reopen embassies in each others’ countries made quite a bit of news. But almost ignored was another news report that showed that despite the crippling US-imposed embargo, that country manages to maintain a high standard not just of medical care but also of medical research.

Cuba has become the first country to eliminate the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mother to baby, the World Health Organisation has announced.

The WHO’s director general, Margaret Chan, said it was “one of the greatest public health achievements possible” and an important step towards an Aids-free generation.

Over the past five years, Caribbean countries have had increased access to antiretroviral drugs as part of a regional initiative to eliminate mother-to-child transmission.

HIV and syphilis testing for pregnant women and their partners, caesarean deliveries and substitution of breastfeeding have also contributed to the breaking of the infection chain, said the WHO.

Carissa Etienne, the director of the Pan American Health Organisation, which partnered with the WHO on the initiative, said: “Cuba’s achievement today provides inspiration for other countries to advance towards elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.”

This follows on the heels of recent reports on Cuba’s development of a lung cancer vaccine and other medical breakthroughs.

The opening of embassies is a long overdue development and should be followed by the immediate lifting of the economic embargo on that nation and the relinquishing by the US of its control of the base at Guantanamo Bay and giving back that land to Cuba.


  1. says

    What has me worried for Cuba is the inevitable bad influences the United States will have on them once relations are normalized. Hopefully they’ll find some middle ground between Cuban Communism and American capitalism.

  2. Sean (I am not an imposter) says

    An American embassy is nothing more than a Trojan Horse in your country. Not sure what the Cubans hope to accomplish with this as the US wants to destroy socialism in Cuba as much as ever.

    But the Cuban leadership has proved remarkably adept at outmaneuvering the US over the years and surviving in the face of extreme hostility and attempts to destroy Cuba’s independence. I hope they know what they’re doing.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    … relinquishing by the US of its control of the base at Guantanamo Bay and giving back that land to Cuba.

    But that would mean bringing all those scary Muuuuzlimmmm prisoners to someplace in the USA, where we couldn’t pretend the Constitution doesn’t apply, and besides even the ones already found innocent of anything at all are so very very scary that this would make the Congressional majority in both chambers cry and throw big hissy tantrums!

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