Cuba: There is nothing more important than a child
By Mercy Ramos
There is a saying in Cuba: “there is nothing more important than a child”. And that thought has been followed to the letter in the largest of the Antilles, since January 1, 1959, with the revolutionary victory.
From then on, the situation of Cuban children changed. The new government began to legislate in favor of the people without distinction and, especially among children, which include free and compulsory education, free medical care and decent housing for each family.
Currently, and for the eighth consecutive year, Cuba is the first country in the Americas and among the top 20 nations in the world with an infant mortality rate below five per thousand live births, according to statistics from the Pan American Health Organization.
It is important to point out that of the 11.2 million inhabitants that Cuba has, 2.3 million belong to the age group under 18 years, 21% of the total, to which careful medical and educational care is dedicated.
To achieve these statistics, the State prioritizes the comprehensive development of early childhood with education and health programs such as the Maternal and Child-Care Program, the "Educate your child" Program and in children's day care facilities.
The net enrollment rate in primary education is 99.1%, and the gross enrollment rate in secondary education is 96.4%, with high rates of gender parity at all levels of education.
All births are registered and 99.9% of them occur in health institutions, assisted by professionals.
Currently in Cuba there are about 400 boys and girls without family protection who live in homes under the tutelage of the Ministry of Education with human, material and financial resources so that life for them develops in the closest way possible to the conditions of a family home.
It is important to add that the rights of the child in Cuba have been applied since 1991, when the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was published in the Official Gazette, with a declaration signed by the President of the Council of State.
All this reflects the concern of the Cuban state to guarantee an adequate life and education for the development of the child population, which in the future, as the National Hero of Cuba, José Martí, said: “For children we work, because they are the ones who know how to love, because they are the hope of the world ”.
In these conditions, Cuba celebrates International Children's Day every June 1, although, on this occasion, it will not be possible to hear the widespread children's hubbub in schools and streets due to the new coronavirus that plagues the country and the whole world, but they will be heard at home, with the certainty they have their future guaranteed.