Havana, Cuba, Mar 27.- World Health Day will be dedicated this year to depression currently affecting 300 million people in the world.
During a press conference in Havana, Dr. Cristian Morales, representative of the Pan American and World Health Organizations in Cuba warned that the chronic ailment affects all of society in a direct or indirect way which currently affects some 50 million people in the region.
The expert added that depression is a phenomenon with complex physical, economic and social causes; leads to suicide each year with estimates of some 65 thousand people in the Americas while the most vulnerable sector of society are the young people and teenagers.
Reports also include post-partum and senior citizens, said Cristian Morales, adding that this ailment constitutes the main cause of disability and shows a high rate of morbidity and mortality.
He stressed in the need in preventive and prophylactic work, mainly in primary health attention.
The specialist emphasized that this does not only depend on the organizational and therapeutic response but also the social conditions, that is why it is important for the multi-sectorial interrelation with marked family implications, institutions and other components of society.
Dr. Alberto Fernandez Seco, head of the National Program on the Attention of Senior Citizens, Social Assistance and Mental Health of the Public Health Ministry announced that 19.8 percent of the Cuban people over 60 years of age and a 13 to 15 percent currently live alone.
Due to the rapid aging of the population, Cuba is developing a group of action to offer a better quality of life to this group and is creating the proper conditions for senior citizens to remain in the community.
Currently 37 percent of the elderly are in senior homes constituting in a social environment, which prevents depression, said the specialist.
World Health Day is commemorated each April 7th as a remembrance of the foundation of the World Health Organization in 1948. The WHO organizes a group of activities each year on a specific health issue and reason for concern for humanity. (acn)