National Network On Cuba & Canadian Network On Cuba Campaign
In a two-hour webinar, high-ranking leaders in public health, medicine, and nursing from University of Minnesota and Cuba shared experiences in the frontline fight against Covid-19, covering three areas: public health measures, new vaccines, and clinical therapies. Because Cuba is the object of a harsh six-decade-old blockade by the United States--for example, Cuba is blocked from using Zoom and other web-based platforms--the webinar broke new ground in promoting direct people-to-people dialog. Two hundred people were in attendance.
The president of the University of Minnesota opened the webinar by welcoming US-Cuba collaboration, along with one of the organizers, faculty member John Osborne. The webinar was moderated by Gail Reed, editor of MEDICC Review Journal.
OVERVIEW OF EPIDEMIOLOGY IN MINNESOTA AND CUBA
- Dr. Michael Osterholm, Regents Professor of Public Health at the University of Minnesota, and member of President Biden’s Covid-19 Advisory Board, gave a detailed update on the progression of Covid in Minnesota.
-Dr. Francisco Duran Garcia, National Director of Epidemiology at the Cuban Ministry of Health, described strategies for prevention and control of Covid, emphasizing public education, active screening iin all the neighborhoods, contract tracing, PPE for all health workers, and hospitalizing all confirmed cases. He elaborated the challenges of the “new normal,” including the need for social discipline, monitoring of travelers, and economic recovery.
CONTAINMENT OF COVID 19
- Iliana Morales Suarez- National Director of Science and Technology Innovation in the Cuban Ministry of Health, described the frequent door-to-door active screening of every neighborhood by thousands of medical students, with coordination and follow up with family doctors in each neighborhood. Medical schools have been kept open during the pandemic.
-Dr. Jacob Tolar, Dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School, described how some hospitals were repurposed for Covid patients only; how staff at these hospitals designed and made their own ventilators, PPE’s, and test kits; how quarantined students were supported; and the importance of close follow up after case identification.
CLINICAL TRIALS AND VACCINE CANDIDATES
-Dagmar Garcia Rivera, PhD, Director of Research at Finley Vaccine Institute of Cuba, talked about the many different vaccines being developed by Cuba’s biotech industry, with four vaccines in phase two clinical trials. He discussed the potential to use different vaccines to target different ages and risk groups.
-Dr. Timothy Schacher, Vice Dean of Research and Medical Sciences, described the development of vaccines focusing on enhancing T-cells.
CLINICAL CARE AND THERAPIES
-Dr. Daniel Gonzalez, Chief of Clinical Services at Pedro Kouri Tropical Medical Institute, elaborated on the protocol of hospitalizing all Covid patients; the use of antibiotics, steroids, anticoagulants and interferons for patients of moderate, serious and critical stages.
-Laura Reed, RN, MBA, Chief Nurse Executive of Minnesota Health Fairview, talked about hospitals exclusively dedicated to Covid patients, remote monitoring of patients, and drive-through testing.
Closing remarks by Senator Amy Klobuchar advocating for further collaboration between the U.S. and Cuba.
The US based National Network on Cuba (www.nnoc.info) and the Canadian Network on Cuba (www.canadiannetworkoncuba.ca) and a number of other organizations have come together to launch this campaign for collaboration between the US, Cuba and Canada... Read more >>