Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


FL162040 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 1700 GMT 16 Oct 85

[Text] Thunderous applause made the plenary hall of the Palace of
Conventions tremble when the more than 1,500 national and foreign delegates
from Latin America, Europe, and Asia participating in the Second National
Hygiene and Epidemiology Congress became aware of the presence of the
President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Commander in Chief Fidel
Castro. The subjects under discussion were Cuban experience with community
physicians, and the people's participation in health protection programs,
both of which were the result of Comrade Fidel's inspired initiative.
Following his detailed discussion of the creation, experience and future
of the family doctor and his great value for preventive health measures in
the community, Fidel said:

[Begin Castro recording] Another question that we asked ourselves is: does
the fact that all Cuba is covered by the family doctors program mean by
chance that we are going to need many more hospital beds because more
disease is going to be discovered? What has been one of our most pleasant
surprises? The discovery that the number of hospital beds needed is
decreasing. This is incredible, as the comrade explained. There are many
persons who do not need to be incarcerated in a hospital; do not forget
there are a lot of patients who are afraid to go to the doctor because they
maybe ordered to the hospital and so have to leave home. This program makes
it possible for many patients to receive attention at home instead of at
the hospital. There are many who need to have their blood pressure taken
every day, and they are hospitalized to make it possible to do so, or
because they require a certain injection or what-have-you. What does this

We used to talk of the number of hospital beds, whether the country had
five per 1,000 inhabitants, or four, or seven, etc., whether such and such
a country has l0 million inhabitants and 50,000-odd hospital beds. There
have been such revolutionary changes in the concept of medical attention
that we can say that the entire country is like a hospital, and that all
the country's beds are hospital beds. [laughter] What a concept! [applause]
All the beds in the country! [end recording]

Another moment of great anticipation took place when the Brazilian delegate
asked Commander in Chief Fidel Castro: [Begin recording] [Unidentified
delegate from Brazil] I would like Commander Fidel to say what he can
suggest for a country like Brazil. What can be done so one can have hope
[laughter] of having in Brazil a light at the end of the tunnel because we
cannot hope to have what you have in Cuba. Thank you.

[Castro] I believe someone told me you are specializing in matters related
to AIDS. Is is true? It is a disease. There are serious social ills out
there that also require specialists to make a diagnosis and indicate
treatment. [applause]

Malnutrition in the Third World is induced by the unfair exchange, the
exploitation of which we are victims; they pay is low prices for our
products and charge us high prices for all theirs, they try to export their
model for society with the crazy idea that everyone, every family should
have an automobile. I ask whether China can adopt this model for society.
Can India, with more than 700 million inhabitants adopt a model for society
in which each family has an automobile? [applause] [words indistinct] agree
with you that that disease is worse than the one you are specializing in.
That disease really kills off people. Cancer kills so many, AIDS kills so
many. How many is AIDS killing in comparison with the tens of millions of
children and adults that die each year from malnutrition and disease, from
what the WHO calls curable diseases? The system does not provide the
physician with the mentality required to solve the people's problems, to
work in the country, to work with the poor. Unfortunately, the system
deforms physicians and the remedy is surgical. [laughter] Surgical!
[applause] [end recording]

Among the subjects to be discussed this afternoon at the working sessions
of the Second National Hygiene and Epidemiology Congress being held at the
Palace of Conventions are: the principal characteristics of infections
[words indistinct], epidemiological control in work centers with inadequate
vaccination systems, and epidemiological studies on malaria.