Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-94-127 Daily Report 1 Jul 1994 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Castro Participates in Congress

FL0107023494 Havana Cuba Vision Network in Spanish 0000 GMT 1 Jul 94 FL0107023494 Havana Cuba Vision Network Spanish BFN [Report by Gloria Ugaz for the "NTV" newscast]

[Text] Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, president of the Councils of State and Ministers, today presided over the closing session of the First Family Medicine Congress at the Convention Palace. The session on family medicine's role in the special period was presided over by the commander in chief. The essential role of the family doctor and nurse has been to study and identify health problems in their area and, based on this, provide a solution at community level. The afternoon session included a review of the experience gathered in urban and rural areas, education and labor centers, daycare centers, and others.

[Begin recording] [Castro] The definite idea was for us to have enough general practitioners in the future to permanently send them to the mountains. This also entails convincing a sufficient number of apostles [laughter] to permanently go to the mountains and stay there. Nevertheless, your idea is original. It means that those comrades who want to become general practitioners must also state their willingness to remain permanently in the mountains?

[Unidentified speaker] Well, most of them are willing to do so. Why? Because three or four of this group are from the mountains.

[Castro] Oh, all right.

[Unidentified speaker] They have studied medicine at the Faculty of Medical Sciences in Granma but they are from there -- precisely from that zone.

[Castro] All right. That is very good because I know many people who came from the mountains never returned once they walked on paved streets. [laughter] That is all right, but a definite decision must be made one day or else they will have a hard time. Family doctors faced many problems in the mountains, first of all because the people lived all over the place. In Havana, you find a family doctor on every block; everyone lives close to a polyclinic. They can practically walk to the polyclinic -- but communication problems are tremendous in the mountains, which we know quite well. When you walk from one valley to another, from one neighborhood to another, sometimes you have to walk for hours.

Everything was difficult back then. I remember when we discussed things with De la Torre [not further identified] -- what equipment they should have in the mountains, what kind of medicine they should have in the mountains, because what you could solve at a polyclinic in the city could not be solved at the polyclinic in the mountains. Everything was always more difficult over there. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to know you have developed those ideas and sought new ways, and that there are companeros who are not from the mountains... [pauses] I also know many people who grew up in cities with paved streets and went to live in the mountains.

[Unidentified speaker] That is my case.

[Castro] I do not know if you were born in the mountains.

[Unidentified speaker] No.

[Castro] You come from a city with paved streets.

[Unidentified speaker] Yes.

[Castro] Yet you support the idea. See what I mean? We need more people like you, capable of assuming a resonsibility like that. [end recording]

Participants also reviewed research carried out with the use of herbal medicine in rural areas, based on the peasants' support and experience; results achieved with acupuncture; and, above all, the importance of sponsoring the health program with the support of the people's councils to prevent diseases, accidents at home, and in the workplace; to reduce suicidal tendencies and alcoholism, among other health problems; and to successfully increase a family's income with housework.