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Castro Participates in Health Care Meeting

FL1711014288 Havana Radio Rebelde Network in Spanish 0004 GMT 17 Nov 88

[Report by Mercedes Hernandez and Gisela Bel Heredia from Havana's Palace
of Conventions during "Exclusivo" program hosted by Daniel Torres--live]

[Text] [Hernandez] Good evening, Daniel.  Good evening, Cuba.

As you said, we are here at the Palace of Conventions where a productive
dialogue is currently underway between our Commander in Chief Fidel Castro
and the participants of the second international seminar on primary health
care.  The main topic of the seminar is "The Family Doctor:  A Response to
the Need of the Community."

Fidel has spoken on several occasions.  He said that at this time there
are 6,211 family doctors in the country, 112 doctors in schools, and 114 in
factories.  Fidel pointed out the need to increase the number of permanent
doctors in student and work centers.

We will now pass our microphones to Comrade Gisela Bel Heredia who is
attending the plenary meeting in which our commander in chief is
participating in a dialogue with the seminar participants.

[Bel] Yes, Mercedes, at this time the commander in chief is speaking with
one of the Cuban specialists in general integral medicine.  We'll listen to
a portion of this dialogue.

[Castro] [Applause] I think this is admirable work.  I don't know to what
degree this has been made know.  This is a new phase.  It's a new type of
research available to an integral medicine specialist and it will have
enormous possibilities when we have thousands and thousands of specialists.
We hope that they attain the same level you have acquired.  They will be at
a higher level in their fight for health.  I hope that many will attain the
same level you have reached.

There is also an economic aspect here.  Costs will decrease with a
reduction in the amount of medications, with less hospital admissions, and
you can also add to this a reduction of time spent in the hospital.  You
said that this had to be done in relation to the medications [word

[Unidentified speaker, interrupting] Yes, there are state costs and
individual costs.  In reference to estimating the benefit to the
individual, you are right.  Medications cost less for older people.

[Castro] There are two things I would like to ask you.  The first question
is the following:  You say you have 139 people, 24 percent of the
population, over the age of 60, right?  They are over the age of 60.  How
much time do you spend as a family doctor on that 24 percent?

[Speaker] Very little, very little, because I have them organized now.
They don't get sick very often and [words indistinct].

[Castro, interrupting] [Words indistinct]

[Speaker] I can give you a percentage.

[Castro] But aren't they the ones who have the most problems?  A large
number of sick people are that age.

[Speaker] It was that way at first, yes.  They can be diabetic but they are
being treated.  They can have high blood pressure but the are being
treated.  We only....

[Castro, interrupting] Then your work is reduced?

[Speaker] This reduces work for me in general.  In the beginning, there may
be a lot of work because I have to use a number of resources to do this.

[Castro] Doesn't that 24 percent take up at least 35 to 40 percent of your

[Speaker] Yes, in general, if they run a health risk.

[Castro] If they are running a health risk?

[Bell] [Castro continues to be heard in the background] Daniel, we would
like to continue listening but we know that we have to go on to other news.