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Sunday, March 24, 2019
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Endocrinology treatments in Cuba

Havana, Feb 27.- Havana’s National Institute of Endocrinology is dedicated to the diagnosis, management and treatment of diabetes mellitus and other metabolic diseases, as well as training in this specialty.

The institution, attached to the Ministry of Public Health (Minsap), is also responsible for organizing scientific activities; promoting the implementation and dissemination of research results; supporting the development of diagnostic and therapeutic technologies; as well as promoting national endocrinology programs and presenting advances made in the sector at different events; and offering specialist, Masters and PhD courses.

With ample experience treating Cubans, it also provides services for international patients suffering from endocrine disorders and in need of diagnosis, treatment or a second opinion from Cuban specialists.

The Institute also has a day center for diabetic patients, which offers outpatient services, conducts laboratory tests, check-ups and provides information on various courses of treatment, according to Dr. Silvia Elena Turcios Tristá, Grade Two Endocrinology specialist, speaking to Granma International.

Turcios, also a researcher and assistant professor, highlighted that the center offers information about nutrition, lifestyle changes, and physical exercise, as well as psychological, ophthalmological and nutritional therapies depending on the needs of the patient. “The program is tailor-made, in the first consultation we identify possible risk factors, and then design the patient’s care and treatment program,” she noted.

The institution also offers medical consultations, periodic check-ups to review any complications or adjust treatment, and personalized nutritional guidance, to foreign individuals based in Cuba, such as diplomatic personnel and international technicians, according to the expert.

“What is more,” noted Turcios, also head of International Medical Care at the Institute, “we offer hospitalization services for those with more severe cases or those who wish to be admitted for their own peace of mind. In such cases, patients are provided with a nurse 24 hours a day and an on-call doctor.”

The center also treats other endocrine disorders, such as those that affect the thyroid glands, pituitary tumors, reproductive health, pediatric endocrinology, ageing, severe osteoporosis, as well as other metabolic conditions.

International patients can access any of these services by contacting the center directly, or emailing the Servicios Médicos Cubanos (Cuban Medical Services) Enterprise.In this regard, Turcios noted that the Institute has a team of endocrinology specialists across different branches who have undertaken research and impart classes. “These experts have completed training courses, Masters degrees; they organize national scientific events and are the frontline for patients seeking international medical services,” she noted.

Meanwhile, the center also boasts modern diagnostic equipment which is used to conduct highly specific laboratory tests, giving accurate results in just 48 hours.

What is more, if a patient needs surgery or a specialist X-ray or scan, the center has agreements with other institutions able to provide such services.

According to Isleydis Iglesias Marichal, director of the National Endocrinology Institute, “This site was founded in December 1966 as part of the Manuel Fajardo Clinical, Surgical, Teaching Hospital, given the need to develop this specialty in the country. Today we are located close to the medical center.”

The Comprehensive Family Medicine and Endocrinology specialist explained that in the past endocrine conditions were not treated as chronic disorders by doctors, but as the health of the world’s population changed, this became more common, as various illnesses are caused by metabolic conditions.

“We provide consultation services to our Health Ministry and belong to a national group of specialists and here we govern, on the decision of its members, the Cuban Endocrinology Society. We also head the national technical advisory commission on diabetes, which features other non-Minsap institutions because they support or promote disease prevention and health promotion efforts,” noted Iglesias Marichal, also an assistant professor and researcher.

She went on to note that the Institute is currently training some 60 Endocrinology residents, 38 of whom are from other Latin American, African and Caribbean countries. Regarding teaching she explained that students benefit from highly qualified professors, the majority of whom are also involved in some area of research. “We have highly specialized staff and human resources,” the expert emphasized.

Iván Blasser Stanziola, from Panama and accompanying his daughter Lucrecia in Cuba to receive treatment for a thyroid condition, agrees. Stanziola himself received treatment for orthopedic and gastroenterological conditions years before, and noted that “Cuba is concerned with finding the cause of the problem in the illness and making an accurate diagnosis, which means a high chance of recovery.”

Other things you should know about diabetes mellitus

  • Over 300 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes mellitus, a figure which is expected to rise to 380 million over the coming years.
  • In Cuba, over one million people live with diabetes, a chronic, non-communicable disease considered to be an epidemic.
  • According to the National Health Statistics Yearbook, diabetes is the eighth most common cause of death in Cuba.
  • Risk factors include: stress, an unhealthy diet, hypertension, high cholesterol, as well as others linked to women who suffered abnormal weight gain during pregnancy, gestational diabetes, or unexplained stillbirth. (Granma)