Cuba eradicates syphillis, HIV transmission to babies

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A Cuban doctor examines a young patient at the health centre in the city of Jiquitaia in the state of Bahia, north-eastern Brazil.

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March 20, 2015 -- TeleSUR English via Portside, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) will visit Cuba soon to review if the country can be certified to have eliminated the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mother to child.

In order to receive the certification from the WHO, a country must have a transmission rate in less than 0.5 per cent of live births in the case of syphilis and less than 2 per cent in the case of HIV. Medical care for pregnant women and access to HIV tests must exceed 95 per cent and antiretroviral treatment must be available for 95 per cent of seropositive pregnant women.

“We believe Cuba meets the indicated requirements and we hope to receive certification”, said Dr Rosaida Ochoa, director of the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Unit. Ochoa indicated that 24 experts from the WHO will visit hospitals, clinics, and laboratories in the provinces of Havana, Villa Clara and Santiago de Cuba. Should Cuba be certified to have eliminated the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mother to child, it would be the first country in the world to do so.

Despite its status as a low-income country, Cuba's medical system is recognised as one of the best in the world.

As an example of Cuba's solidarity with the peoples of the world, Cuban doctors often travel to countries affected by disasters in order to provide medical relief. Cuban doctors recently went to countries in West Africa to help treat the Ebola epidemic, saving the lives of hundreds.