There have been no confirmed cases of Zika in Cuba, and President Raul Castro is deploying 9,000 army troops to keep it that way.
In addition, Castro is calling on all Cubans to engage in the fight to control a potential Zika spread. In a statement today, he said, “It is imperative that every Cuban man and woman assume this battle as a personal issue, a worrisome problem, given above all the responsibility it implies for their families.”
The disease is spread by mosquitoes from the genus Aedes. There is currently no vaccine or treatment for the illness.
Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health will be engaged to confront the Zika virus along with Dengue and Chikungunya. Some health professionals has speculated that Chikungunya and/or Dengue may be interacting with Zika in ways not yet understood.
Cuba has a longstanding policy of training large numbers of health care professionals and focusing on upstream care with neighborhood-level access. This policy resulted in the building up of numerous doctors and nurses dispersed evenly throughout the country’s rural and urban populations: 66,502 physicians, 76.6 physicians per 10,000 population (1 doctor for every 130 people) – which compares to 24.5 physicians per 10,000 people in the United States. Cuba’s emphasis on maternal and child health made mothers and children the policy’s main beneficiaries.