Cuban doctor concerned about deaths of young children

Guyana Chronicle
December 18, 1999

DR. NANCY Sitchao, one of the 19-person Cuban Medical Brigade in Guyana, has expressed concern over the high incidence of children under the age of 14, drowning and being burnt to death.

Dr Sitchao was presenting her annual report to a Health Workers Day symposium held yesterday afternoon at the Cuban Embassy.

The medical doctor who is attached to the Georgetown Hospital's Pathology Department said many of the children who die from burning were left unattended at home.

And regarding the drowning cases, Dr. Sitchao said the children are used to playing in trenches with low water levels. When it rains, the level increases but the children go to play as usual, and drown.

Sitchao also expressed concern about the high suicide rate in Guyana.

Suicides here are a major cause of death amongst the young adults, she observed.

According to Sitchao's report, of the 664 males and 286 females, whose bodies she examined this year, 95 per cent of the deaths resulted from suicide.

Much work needs to be done to help the young people, Sitchao said.

Other major causes of death are: motor vehicle accidents which accounted for 110 of the bodies she dealt with; infections, 153; cardiovascular diseases, 135; and liver diseases, 47.

Cuban Ambassador to Guyana, Mr. Ricardo Garcia said yesterday that Cuba has over half a million workers dedicated to public health and a little over 70,000 doctors.

This effort in building Cuba's human resources in the health sector has been shared for more than three decades with over 83 countries which have received the assistance of almost 40,000 health professionals since 1963, Garcia said.

Recently, Cuba created a Latin American University of Medicine with more than 1,663 students from 15 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Garcia said.

"This new contribution of Cuba is part of our sustained efforts to maintain brigades of our integrated medical plan in Central America and Africa, especially in countries of scarce development," Garcia said.

Cuba has 45 brigades comprising a total of 1,200 members working in Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize, Guatemala, Niger, Haiti and The Gambia.

Medical Director of Health, Dr. Madan Rambarran observed that Cuba has contributed significantly to Guyana's health sector, and that the working relationship in this sector between the two countries has always been good.

He looks forward to continuing the relationship.(GWEN EVELYN)

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