Roberto Morales, Cuban health minister, expressed the country’s appreciation for the honor of chairing the 67th World Health Assembly, taking place this week in Geneva, Switzerland.
The presidency of the Assembly rotates annually between the six regions of the World Health Organization (OMS). This year is the Americas’ turn, with Cuba chosen to lead the Assembly, a first for the country.
According to Morales, some of the key issues being discussed during the Assembly are the impact of climate change on health, universal coverage, “of which Cuba has been a prime example for many years, due to the policies realized by our Revolution and led by our Comandante en Jefe…I also believe that it is a tribute to Fidel’s work,” emphasized Morales.
Anayansi Rodríguez , Cuba’s permanent representative to United Nations offices in Geneva, spoke to Granma commenting on the importance of the 67th World Health Assembly in the history of the OMS, this year, with a record number of participants – more than 4,000 delegates from the organization’s 194 member countries.
The importance of including health objectives in the post 2015 development agenda - which is currently being developed in the UN General Assembly - has been rigorously discussed, commented Rodríguez. She also highlighted that another important issue, has been the negotiation of a global coordination plan addressing non-communicable disease prevention and control. Access to quality, safe and affordable medicines has also been discussed.
She also commented that Cuba is not only recognized for the achievements of its health system, but also for all its solidarity and international work in this sphere. Morales stated that everyday more requests arrive from countries seeking to increase collaboration with Cuba.
As well as receiving recognition from OMS member countries, Cuba has been acknowledged by the organization’s directorate. “In particular from Margaret Chan, director general, who on more than one occasion over the last few days has sent cordial messages in recognition of the Cuban health system, and in particular, the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Comandante en Jefe, Fidel Castro, who she met personally a few years ago, and of our President Raúl, with whom she has also held meetings…she has sent them acknowledgements and thanks, for the example Cuba has set in the sphere of health, cooperation and concrete examples in the struggle for the wellbeing of the people.”