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Improved health services in Cubas Sierra Maestra mountains
More than 80 doctors offices and health care facilities are providing services to the farming population that lives in this mountainous municipality of eastern Cuba.

Guama is the biggest municipality of Cuba with 949.7 square kilometers and a population of just under 36,000. It includes a portion of the historic Sierra Maestra Mountains that served as a theater of operations and several victories of the Rebel Army led by Fidel Castro, which went on to topple the Batista dictatorship.

Currently, efforts in this territory of Santiago de Cuba province are geared to raise the standard of living of the population and strengthen the prevention of diseases and health care in general.

Dr. Efrain Corrales Lopez, director of the municipal health care system told Granma newspaper that several programs are in progress to improve the services in the most remote areas. He said these include the delivery of ultrasound scanners to the doctor's offices so that they can do regular checkups on pregnant women.

Today, four specialized medical facilities are operating in the Uvero, Chivirico , Aserradero and Ocujal del Turquino communities. They are invaluable to reduce the infant mortality rate, and to give continuous care and follow-up treatment to children and pregnant women that live in far off locations.

Two rehabilitation halls are providing services in these historical mountains as well as a senior citizens nursing home and three facilities devoted to pregnant women. There is also a genetic medical facility, a therapy department and an ambulance base.

Primary health care service is provided by family doctors. These have a network of 54 doctors offices and are linked to the three mountain polyclinics.

The infrastructure is backed by the professional services of 300 doctors, nurses and technical personnel, who also teach medical sciences at the local university venue.

Dental services are also assured by taking mobile dentistry equipment to the most remote communities, allowing residents to avoid the journey to reach the Granma coastal highway.

A moving testimony of the lack of medical services in this region before 1959 are the dozens of small graveyards located all along the coastline, where the remains of those who died waiting for a boat to take them to the city of Santiago de Cuba are buried.

Source: By Jose Antonio Torres, Granma

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