In Las Tunas, the survival rate of infants has increased

That infant mortality closed in 2022 with a rate of 6.96 per thousand live births keeps those who carry such a great responsibility on their shoulders on tenterhooks.

Las Tunas, Cuba.- Although the figure places us below the national average, it demands an exhaustive review of the processes; but it is fair to say that the follow-up has never been in the background within the priorities of the sector.

Osmara López Borrero, a specialist in Gynecology and Obstetrics, knows this well, with her seven years at the head of the Mather and Child Care Program (PAMI) in these lands.

She assures 26 that she dreams of the challenges that accumulate, which keeps her awake at dawn, and makes her feel grateful for the knowledge she now has in Pediatrics, Neonatology, and other branches different from hers, but chained to the cycle of existence. And that is what it is to bring children into the world, a flow that is interwoven and in which each medical edge is essential for the baby's cry to be strong and good omens.

That the territory had nine fewer deaths than the previous calendar (under 1-year-old), is a fact that, although it is necessary to attend to far from extreme complacency, it does illustrate the work done during a brutal blockade, the echoes of a terrible pandemic that does not go away completely and the inefficiencies that should not be covered with a finger in this universe, nor in any other of the Cuban social and economic events.

"In Las Tunas, the survival rate of infants has increased and in this indicator, our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and the management of serious and critical children in the municipalities continue to be a strength."

Infant Mortality Rate 1989-2021
Infographic by István Ojeda Bello 

"In addition, the care of infants from zero to 28 days was consolidated as the most difficult stage of life, especially if it is a low-weight infant born before the end of gestation."

"The number of mothers who donate human milk in the communities has increased; they are the ideal support for the ideal nourishment of these little ones. In addition, the effectiveness of the methods used in the care of infertile couples has also increased; a greater number of pregnancies have been achieved, while the eight clinics we have for these cases here are working."

We also learned that Perinatology is consolidating its important performance, betting on better management of the health problems associated with and dependent on pregnancy. We heard her highlight, with pleasure, the birth of the room for this specialty at the General Teaching Hospital Doctor Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, a comfortable place, with excellent structural conditions, put into operation almost when 2022 was coming to an end.

However, despite that, nobody is completely happy. Moreover, the expert insists on the multisector work, the responsibility of the family, timely information, and everything that conditions a planned, desired, and responsible pregnancy.

"The main causes of mortality in infants under 1 year of age are preterm delivery, low birth weight, and intrauterine growth restriction and their complications, plus infections and, lastly, congenital malformations."

"Concerning maternal morbidity, the fundamental reason for admission to Intensive Care is arterial hypertension associated with pregnancy or dependent on it (preeclampsia). In the year that ended we had to lament three maternal deaths; a sick patient with sicklemia, a cardiac arrhythmia, and another due to a hemorrhagic complication of childbirth."

"It is a chain, so to speak, between the care of children and adolescents, women, pregnant women, puerperal women, and it starts with Primary Health Care. The family doctor's offices, maternity homes, polyclinics, and hospitals, to which they return for follow-up, and no link should fail."

In Las Tunas, 4,882 children were born alive in the 12 months that just ended. However, López Borrero, who does not delegate responsibility to those who did not meet the same fate throughout the process, insists that more can be done.

She, who has Sundays and Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Mondays together, because she sleeps little and works with her team many hours on any day, is accompanied by people willing to contribute more for Las Tunas and its children.

"Not only at the Provincial Hospital, which is where most births happen; I'm also talking about the 'Guillermo Domínguez', in Puerto Padre, and the cesarean and delivery services we have at 'Amancio' and Jobabo."

"But it doesn't help when a pregnant woman refuses an admission or a mother with her child leaves the Health Center without taking into account the medical opinion. We all have to win in conscience; the great victory is life."