Cuba's Minister José Ángel Portal at NAM MeetingCuba's government urged this Wednesday the world to prioritize saving lives based on international cooperation and solidarity in COVID-19 times.

Havana, Cuba.- At the Meeting of Health Ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement, Cuba's Minister José Ángel Portal expressed that the fight against the novel coronavirus taught us, "solidarity and international cooperation are vital in this type of situation. No country, big or small, is oblivious to it."

Unfortunately, some nations do not learn this lesson, and what is worse, with actions such as the tightening of unilateral coercive measures against many countries, thwarting them from responding effectively to the pandemic, Portal said.

Cuba, which faces a brutal escalation of the US economic, commercial and financial blockade, has limited or impossible access to equipment, medicines, medical devices and technologies related to the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 disease, explained the Minister of Public Health.

Despite that, he indicated, with huge efforts and sacrifices, we managed to sustain a public healthcare system, universal, free and accessible to 100 percent of the population.

Currently, 70 investigations and clinical trials are being carried out in the country; as well as new drugs that are applied in the treatment of this disease, the use of which has also spread to other nations, he noted.

The national action protocol, he underscored, included innovative products from our biopharmaceutical industry, which allowed a significant reduction in patients evolving to a severe or critical condition representing only eight percent of COVID-19 cases.

The use of two novel drugs to control the hyper-inflammatory reaction that occurs in the stage of lung disease increased survival rates for severely ill patients by over 80 percent and for critically sick patients by over 75 percent. These are encouraging results, he pointed out.

Portal reported that 26 brigades of Cuban healthcare professionals joined the efforts of 24 countries to combat the pandemic, joining the over 28,000 collaborators in the sector who were already providing services in 59 nations, of which 56 are member states of the Non-Aligned Movement. (PL)