Cuban Health Officials Investigate Woman's Death from Malaria After Returning from Angola

Tuesday, July 9, 2024 by Isabella Rojas

Cuban Health Officials Investigate Woman's Death from Malaria After Returning from Angola
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The General Directorate of Health in Las Tunas announced the formation of a medical commission to investigate the death of Yaneidys Barea Gregori, a psychologist who recently passed away after returning from Angola. The decision comes in response to the family's "dissatisfaction" with the handling of her case.

Without directly mentioning malaria, the disease that allegedly claimed Barea Gregori's life, the health authorities emphasized the need to review the "compliance with medical protocols" followed in her treatment. Barea Gregori, originally from the Jesús Menéndez municipality in Las Tunas, died after coming back from Angola, where she had been working under a personal contract.

"We extend our deepest condolences to her family and commit to rigorously analyzing the procedures carried out, as well as providing the results," the health department stated. Barea Gregori, who was only 40 years old and had spent 18 months in Africa, died on July 4. Immediately after her death, her friends and family demanded justice, arguing that the health protocols for those returning from African countries failed, and that early and effective treatment could have saved her life.

In a detailed Facebook post, Juli Elena Jareno criticized the supposed free healthcare system in Cuba, pointing out that it takes innocent lives due to its malfunctioning. Jareno highlighted issues such as the lack of medical equipment and supplies, poor conditions of healthcare facilities, and a general lack of professionalism and interest from healthcare workers. She added that although Barea Gregori did receive medical attention, the diagnosis and treatment were delayed due to the slow processing of essential blood tests.

Barea Gregori's case underscores the importance of urgent blood tests to identify the plasmodium type and administer the appropriate treatment for malaria. Without timely tests, the disease progressed and ultimately led to her death.

The tragic death of Yaneidys Barea Gregori serves as another urgent call to improve the management and functionality of Cuba's healthcare system. This comes even as the regime continues to send doctors on missions worldwide. This is not the first malaria case detected in Cuba this year. In February, the Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine (IPK) in Havana confirmed an imported case of malaria in a Cuban man who returned from an African country at the end of December. It wasn't until January 26 that health authorities confirmed the case.

This patient, who was not a healthcare collaborator, arrived on December 24 in the municipality of Jatibonico, in Sancti Spíritus, also from Angola, according to Dr. Carlos Ruiz Santos, director of the Provincial Center for Hygiene, Epidemiology, and Microbiology in that province.

Just over a month after that initial diagnosis, health authorities confirmed a new case in Guantánamo, breaking decades of absence of the disease on the island. Leonel Heredia Carpintrú, an epidemiologist and deputy director of Epidemiology at the Provincial Center for Hygiene, Epidemiology, and Microbiology in the easternmost province, clarified that it was an imported case and that there was no local transmission in the territory.

Questions About Malaria Cases in Cuba

Given the recent reports of malaria cases in Cuba, many are seeking answers about the disease and the healthcare system's response. Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers.

What led to the death of Yaneidys Barea Gregori?

Yaneidys Barea Gregori died from complications related to malaria after returning from Angola. Delays in medical diagnosis and treatment contributed to her untimely death.

How has the healthcare system in Cuba responded to these cases?

Cuban health authorities have formed commissions to investigate the cases and review the compliance of medical protocols. However, there are criticisms regarding the overall efficiency and resources of the healthcare system.

Are there other recent cases of malaria in Cuba?

Yes, there have been other imported cases of malaria in Cuba this year, including one case confirmed in February and another in Guantánamo shortly thereafter.

What are the main criticisms of the Cuban healthcare system?

Critics point to the lack of medical equipment and supplies, poor facility conditions, and a general lack of professionalism and interest from healthcare workers as major issues plaguing the Cuban healthcare system.

© CubaHeadlines 2024

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