CubaPLUS Magazine

International Doctor's Day and Latin American Medicine

By: Amanda Bedia
Dec 03, 2023
International Doctor's Day and Latin American Medicine

Cubans feel immense pride when December 3 arrives each year. and two very special celebrations coincide that honor wisdom, consecration and relevance of a scientific discovery made by its compatriot Carlos J. Finlay y Barrés (1833-1915) at the end of the 19th century.

These celebrations are Pan American Medicine Day, then called of Latin American Medicine, instituted since 1946 and the International Day or Doctor's World Cup, approved for the same reason at the beginning of the 1990s. The chosen date corresponds to the birth of Doctor Carlos J. Finlay, as stated with great affection, because that was how he stamped his signature, despite being called Juan Carlos and not Carlos Juan. Our wise man deserves tribute for being the discoverer of the transmitting agent of yellow fever, the Aedes Aegypti mosquito.

In nineteenth-century times this disease caused great epidemics in the tropical region of the Americas and the planet and only from the contribution of the great researcher and active doctor, it was prevented from continuing to be a serious health threat. The leap was enormous, after intense sacrifices, field work and obstacles defeated by the brilliant scientist, who also made several other contributions to the epidemiology in his native island, with recognized merits in the therapeutics of infantile tetanus and in ophthalmology.

Today, when health is a right of the Cuban people, enjoyed absolutely free through a network of hospitals, clinics and polyclinics, driven by the achievements of advanced scientific institutions, the production of novel medicines developed by researchers nationally, Cuba enjoys one of the highest health standards in the world. And although it cannot be denied that public health, its institutions and access to the country's basic medicines are being severely limited and damaged by the intensification of the foreign blockade, the health network is still alive and functioning, making colossal efforts to continue offering well-being, health and save lives.

A day like December 3 is very joyful because not only are doctors celebrated, also all the paramedical staff and those in charge of services related to that area. Same as those who produce medicines, also pharmacology has its very notable celebration. The members of the collectives of internationalists of Cuban medicine, a contingent of seasoned and professional humanists, are especially recognized and honored. The fact that the recovery process of Cuban society, after the painful Covid 19 pandemic continues steadily, speaks about the work and the consecration of medical workers.

Also the excellent rates of reduction in infant mortality throughout the territory and the increase in life expectancy of the population are bastions that not even a policy as inhumane as the blockade has managed to bring down. There are reasons for celebration and memory.

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