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Cuba: offers aid in Medical Genetics
The 3rd International Conference in Congenital Defects and Disabilities of Developing Countries, shows the pitiful state of genetic research in Latin America, says doctor Miladys Orraca Castillo, from Cuba.

In an exclusive interview for Prensa Latina, the director of the Genetidc Center of Pinar del Rio province in Cuba said that medical genetics in Latin America is based on individual efforts to develop that science.

There is no genetics system or network in any one country except in Cuba and what is even worse, genetics is not part of the health system of each country, she expressed.

Doctor Orraca explained that the conference approached topics related to congenital malformations, genetic diseases, their incidence on population, how to prevent them and above all, there were many clinical presentations of different cases.

During the discussion of those issues and even in coffee breaks, she said, one of the outstanding observations made by professional participants is that the health systems of their countries do not see genetics as part of their programs.

She stressed that Cuba stood out from the very first moment because it is the only country which has integrated genetics to the health program and has obtained concrete results.

There was a stir among developing country delegates when copies of the Cuban Review of Communitary Genetics were distributed, where this country's advances are shown.

In the forum that just concluded in this Brazilian city, Cuba proposed to help developing countries in this sphere.

During the conference, the director of the National Institute of Medical Genetics in Cuba, Dr. Beatriz Marcheco Teruel, said the island is willing to contribute to the development of the specialty in Latin America.

Dr. Marcheco recalled that over 100,000 Cuban health workers are serving in 103 nations around the world and noted that the medical genetics program has not yet been fully implemented in the region despite the recommendations made by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr. Marcheco pointed out that 5 out of 100 new born babies are born with genetic malformations which could lead to death. She further added that Cuba has developed over the last 25 years a medical genetics program to prevent many of these problems.

Source: By Rolando de la Ribera, Prensa Latina

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