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Statement by Dr. José Angel Portal Miranda, Minister of Public Health of Cuba at the 74th World Health Assembly

Madam president;
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization;
Excellencies:
The pandemic caused by COVID-19 has generated a crisis with serious effects. Its incidence goes beyond the health field and covers all sectors, with a negative impact on the Sustainable Development Goals.
The international situation is complex. The number of cases continues to rise, and the unfair and unequal distribution of vaccines defies efforts to end the current epidemiological scenario.
In Cuba, the application of the National Plan for the prevention and control of the new coronavirus, together with our sanitary protocols and the experience acquired, have allowed the recovery of 94% of those infected, which places us among the nations with the best behavior of that indicator.
We have developed five vaccine candidates, two of them in phase III clinical trials, and another three in phases I and II. The results achieved to date are very encouraging.
Based on this, in recent days we began a health intervention in risk groups and territories, and more than a million people have already received at least one dose of the Soberana 02 or Abdala vaccine candidates.
Taking into account the positive results obtained, we estimate that at the end of August 70% of the Cuban population is vaccinated. Once the corresponding evaluations are completed, we will have a greater quantity of vaccines, which will not only benefit Cuba, but also other countries.
Excellencies:
Counteracting the impact of COVID-19 has required an extraordinary effort from Health professionals, scientists, the Government and all of our people.
The unquestionable health challenges of facing the virus have been joined by the intensification of the unjust economic, commercial and financial blockade, which for more than 60 years has been imposed on my country and limits our access to the necessary resources to face the disease and its consequences.
Our biotechnology industry has achieved that 85% of the products used in the treatment protocol are nationally made, a commitment to technological sovereignty in the manufacture of medicines, supplies and vaccines.
On the other hand, amid constant actions to discredit and hinder Cuban medical cooperation, we have supported the fight against the pandemic in 40 countries, which have reached 57 Henry Reeve brigades, whose members have joined the more than 28 thousand health professionals working in 66 nations.
Madam president:
Multiple experiences have left this challenging disease, highlighting the need for resilient health systems, based on Primary Health Care, with a broad and innovative approach, which contribute to the health of all.
We are part of a single world, which we must preserve for the benefit of humanity. Only the joint action of the countries and their governments, based on respect, solidarity and cooperation, will guarantee success in this battle and protect the planet from similar events.
Thank you.
(Taken from MINSAP)

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