Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Take 8 of 11--Cuba:  Castro Speech at Child Care Center


[Text]  Centers for grandparents and a new phenomenon.  The family
doctor institution has allowed us to go deep into the problems and
psychology of grandparents.  It is showing us that it is a whole new world
which we should discover.  It is another world of which we were not
sufficiently aware.  It is a world not characteristic of an underdeveloped
country where life expectancy was less.  But Cuba's life expectancy today
is as high as that of the most developed countries.

The number of people who reach ages over 70 and 80 is growing.  They
constitute a higher percentage of the population.  They constitute a human
sector of our people who have given their life to their work, their
country, and who deserve much more consideration and attention, which they
are now beginning to receive, thanks to many things, but fundamentally
thanks to the family doctors who are seeing all their patients.  They know
how many children there are under 1 year, how many from 1 to 5, 5 to 16.
They know the problems that each one of those patients has.  They know
those who are healthy, as well as those who have blood pressure, diabetes,
and cardiac, respiratory, and kidney problems.  In certain cases, some have
two or three of these problems combined; therefore, they are high risk
cases.  They know those who are too fat and lead a sedentary life which
affects their health and shortens their life, as well as those who are of a
certain age and need exercise to feel better and healthier, and can improve
their level of well-being and happiness.

The family doctors have discovered the problems, fears, anxieties, and
worries, that grandparents have.  They have discovered the way that maybe
other people have made the grandparent feel.  The adult population and the
young ones might have made them feel they are no longer needed, essential,
and that they have to devote themselves to other kinds of work.

Today we are penetrating that world, and we are discovering its great
possibilities.  They are becoming involved.  There hasn't been a center
where there wasn't a grandparent who stood out.  There isn't a single one
out of the 54 centers that have been built.  There were grandmothers and
grandfathers there.  Some of them offered their homes to help prepare the
meals.  I know some who are over 70 years old who accumulated hundreds and
hundreds of voluntary work hours and who participated from 0700 to 1900 in
those construction projects.  They are getting involved, organizing in
clubs, and exercising.  They are participating massively in exercises.
With the family doctor, they have great attention.  They also have great
attention with the service of the polyclinics and the physical therapy gym
that we will have in each polyclinic.  With all these resources and all
these means they will have increasingly better attention.

These grandparents are helping in the schools, centers, and educational
institutions.  They are also helping to fight absenteeism, they are
visiting families when they notice that a child may be starting to go
astray, and they are participating in projects.  Who knows how many other
things they can do.

If health, medicine, and science prolong the life expectancy of the
human being, there will be many people who will not even want to retire.
It is very difficult to find a doctor who wants to retire, or a planner,
writer, or artist.  Those who have very difficult jobs that at a certain
age they can no longer do can change jobs or simply retire since they do
have the right to do so.