Cuba’s Public Health Repair and Maintenance Programme:

A recently renovated senior citizens center in the Havana community of Cojímar. Photo: Yaimí Ravelo

With the confidence of someone who has lived in the community for more than 20 years, José Álvarez Taladrid, 91, says that changes in public health services in the Havana community of Guanabo have been big, and for the better, following the renovation of the Mario Muñoz Monroy polyclinic.

The multi-service community clinic is among 339 facilities in the province of La Habana which have been renovated, as of the end of July, as part of a broad national program of construction, restoration and overdue maintenance, which began in 2012.

Diosdado Duarte Izaguirre, public health director for the municipality of Habana del Este, reported that capital repairs at the clinic were completed by the facility’s own maintenance staff, and contributed to greater satisfaction among both the population and the institution’s workers. Efforts in the community, he said, included work on both wings of the polyclinic, the teaching area, seven neighborhood family clinics, an optician’s office and two pharmacies.

The Comandante Manuel Fajardo Clinical-Surgical Teaching Hospital located in the Havana municipality of Plaza, is another facility undergoing a broad program of repairs and construction maintenance, responding to concerns about basic infrastructure and conditions at this important hospital.

The hospital’s director, Dr. Aldo Jesús Muñoz Hernández, commented, “When we talk about quality and satisfaction, we talk about the issue of comfort and living conditions of a hospital institution… That is why the work being done in our center – and the essence of the Ministry of Public health’s program of restoration and constructive maintenance – is not only directed toward improving infrastructure, but also the updating of technology; the optimal functioning of medical equipment; the engineering systems like boilers, generators, elevators, climate control; the stability and supply of medication and usable materials; and that doctors, nurses and workers provide adequate services.”

Havana’s Manuel Fajardo Surgical Teaching Hospital. PHOTO: Cubaheal

He added that work on the boiler room had a significant impact on the laundry, and that repairs to the air conditioning system allowed for the reopening of intensive care and surgery rooms, which had been closed.

Dr Muñoz reported that, as part of the effort, three elevators had been repaired; six new classrooms added to deal with increased enrollment in medical sciences programs; five hospitalization wards renovated, including those associated with the dermatology, angiology, coronary and ictus departments. Likewise, the imaging and radiology areas, as well as the clinical and microbiology laboratory have been improved, he said.

A DAY TO DAY PLAN

Deputy Public Health Minister Luis Fernando Martínez Navarro told the press that during the first half of the year, 3,200 projects in 890 healthcare institutions across the country were completed, as part of the national plan.

“The year’s plan projects completing some 7,005 works and interventions in more than 3,000 institutions, among which are included hospitals, institutes, neighborhood family medicine clinics, senior citizen community centers, and group homes for the elderly,” Martínez Navarro said, adding that, with a budget of 50 million pesos for 2015, 20 million has been spent thus far this year.

He emphasized, “We need the active participation of the entire staff in caring for their institutions, and the people must maintain and preserve that which has cost so much.”

The fundamental principle of ensuring ongoing, consistent maintenance is a priority, to avoid the accumulation of problems and resultant dissatisfaction.

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