• Global Health Cooperation: International Relations' New Frontier Editorial

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  • Letters Letters

    Waitzkin, Howard; Clutter, Dana
  • Latin American Medical School Class of 2015: Exclusive with Cuban-trained US Graduates Interview

    Gorry, Conner
  • Student Opinions on Factors Influencing Tutorials at Walter Sisulu University, South Africa Original Research

    Garí, Mayra A.; Iputo, Jehu E.

    Abstract in English:

    INTRODUCTION Problem-based learning harmonized with education in and for the community is the cornerstone of the curriculum for the undergraduate medical degree at Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa. In tutorials, students construct knowledge and learn to work collaboratively while interacting with one another in their search for solutions to a pedagogically modeled health issue based on a patient. Problems cover students' needs defined by the learning cycle of the second year medical curriculum, organized into four learning blocks. OBJECTIVES Determine student perspectives on which factors affect tutorial group functioning and detect the reported presence of these factors in the four learning blocks comprising the second year of medical studies at Walter Sisulu University. METHODS Twenty second-year medical students were chosen by stratified random sampling and assigned to two focus groups. One group discussed factors that foster smooth functioning of the tutorial group; the other focused on factors hindering effective group work. Later, in a joint session, 17 items previously identified by both groups were selected and included in a survey given to all 97 students at the end of second year. The survey assessed presence of each item in 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4 of the learning blocks. RESULTS Survey response was 93.8%. Mean reported presence of factors that influenced tutorials in the four learning blocks was 2.71 (SD 0.31) for the social dimension, 3.02 for motivational (SD 0.02), 3.00 for cognitive (SD 0.42), and 2.22 for self-directed learning (SD 0.79). CONCLUSIONS Tutorial group performance at Walter Sisulu University is positively influenced more by motivational and cognitive factors than by social and self-directed learning factors. Social dimensions should be prioritized when training tutors and self-directed learning stressed for students. The poor productivity of extra-tutorial group discussions suggests the need for a critical evaluation of this activity.
  • Definition of Specific Functions and Procedural Skills Required by Cuban Specialists in Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine Original Research

    Véliz, Pedro L.; Berra, Esperanza M.; Jorna, Ana R.

    Abstract in English:

    INTRODUCTION Medical specialties’ core curricula should take into account functions to be carried out, positions to be filled and populations to be served. The functions in the professional profile for specialty training of Cuban intensive care and emergency medicine specialists do not include all the activities that they actually perform in professional practice. OBJECTIVE Define the specific functions and procedural skills required of Cuban specialists in intensive care and emergency medicine. METHODS The study was conducted from April 2011 to September 2013. A three-stage methodological strategy was designed using qualitative techniques. By purposive maximum variation sampling, 82 professionals were selected. Documentary analysis and key informant criteria were used in the first stage. Two expert groups were formed in the second stage: one used various group techniques (focus group, oral and written brainstorming) and the second used a three-round Delphi method. In the final stage, a third group of experts was questioned in semistructured in-depth interviews, and a two-round Delphi method was employed to assess priorities. RESULTS Ultimately, 78 specific functions were defined: 47 (60.3%) patient care, 16 (20.5%) managerial, 6 (7.7%) teaching, and 9 (11.5%) research. Thirty-one procedural skills were identified. The specific functions and procedural skills defined relate to the profession’s requirements in clinical care of the critically ill, management of patient services, teaching and research at the specialist’s different occupational levels. CONCLUSIONS The specific functions and procedural skills required of intensive care and emergency medicine specialists were precisely identified by a scientific method. This product is key to improving the quality of teaching, research, administration and patient care in this specialty in Cuba. The specific functions and procedural skills identified are theoretical, practical, methodological and social contributions to inform future curricular reform and to help intensive care specialists enhance their performance in comprehensive patient care.
  • Macrosomia Predictors in Infants Born to Cuban Mothers with Gestational Diabetes Original Research

    Cruz, Jeddú; Grandía, Raiden; Padilla, Liset; Rodríguez, Suilbert; Hernández, Pilar; Lang, Jacinto; Márquez-Guillén, Antonio

    Abstract in English:

    INTRODUCTION Fetal macrosomia is the most important complication in infants of women with diabetes, whether preconceptional or gestational. Its occurrence is related to certain maternal and fetal conditions and negatively affects maternal and perinatal outcomes. The definitive diagnosis is made at birth if a newborn weighs >4000 g. OBJECTIVE Identify which maternal and fetal conditions could be macrosomia predictors in infants born to Cuban mothers with gestational diabetes. METHODS A case-control study comprising 236 women with gestational diabetes who bore live infants (118 with macrosomia and 118 without) was conducted in the América Arias University Maternity Hospital, Havana, Cuba, during 2002–2012. The dependent variable was macrosomia (birth weight >4000 g). Independent maternal variables included body mass index at pregnancy onset, overweight or obesity at pregnancy onset, gestational age at diabetes diagnosis, pregnancy weight gain, glycemic control, triglycerides and cholesterol. Fetal variables examined included third-semester fetal abdominal circumference, estimated fetal weight at ≥28 weeks (absolute and percentilized by Campbell and Wilkin, and Usher and McLean curves). Chi square was used to compare continuous variables (proportions) and the student t test (X ± SD) for categorical variables, with significance threshold set at p <0.05. ORs and their 95% CIs were calculated. RESULTS Significant differences between cases and controls were found in most variables studied, with the exception of late gestational diabetes diagnosis, total fasting cholesterol and hypercholesterolemia. The highest OR for macrosomia were for maternal hypertriglyceridemia (OR 4.80, CI 2.34–9.84), third-trimester fetal abdominal circumference >75th percentile (OR 7.54, CI 4.04–14.06), and estimated fetal weight >90th percentile by Campbell and Wilkin curves (OR 4.75, CI 1.42–15.84) and by Usher and McLean curves (OR 8.81, CI 4.25–18.26). CONCLUSIONS Most variables assessed were predictors of macrosomia in infants of mothers with gestational diabetes. They should therefore be taken into account for future studies and for patient management. Wide confidence intervals indicate uncertainty about the magnitude of predictive power.
  • ERRATUM Erratum

  • Impact of the 1970 Reforms to Cuba's National Tuberculosis Control Program Review Article

    Beldarraín, Enrique

    Abstract in English:

    INTRODUCTION To reach the goal of eliminating tuberculosis as a public health problem in Cuba, the epidemiological evolution of the disease and of strategies designed to prevent and manage it to date must be well understood. In this context, in 1970, changes were introduced in Cuba’s National Tuberculosis Control Program. OBJECTIVE Review background and evolution of Cuba’s strategy for tuberculosis control, the changes implemented in the 1970 revision of the Program, and their impact on the subsequent evolution of the disease in Cuba. METHODS Published articles on the history of tuberculosis control in Cuba were reviewed, along with archival documents and medical records. Documents concerning the situation of pulmonary tuberculosis in Cuba, including measures adopted to address the disease and its extent, were selected for study, with an emphasis on the period of the Program. Interviews with key informants were conducted. RESULTS Cuba’s fight against tuberculosis began in Santiago de Cuba, with the creation of a local Anti-Tuberculosis League in 1890. Strategic changes introduced by Cuba’s public health sector, stressing health promotion and disease prevention, led to the 1959 creation of the Tuberculosis Department, which implemented Cuba’s first National Tuberculosis Control Program in 1963. This Program was completely reorganized in 1970. The National Tuberculosis Control Program (1963) covered a network of 27 tuberculosis dispensaries, 8 sanatoriums and 24 bacteriology laboratories. Diagnosis was based on radiographic imaging criteria. Incidence was 52.6/100,000 in 1964 and reached 31.2 in 1970. The Program was updated in 1970 to include two major changes: the requirement for bacteriological confirmation of diagnosis and directly-observed outpatient treatment fully integrated into health services. By 1971, incidence was down to 17.8/100,000, and further reduced to 11.6 in 1979. The decrease is interpreted as the result of the greater specificity of microbiologic diagnosis. Tuberculosis control continued to make progress, reaching an incidence rate of 6.1/100,000 in 2012 and mortality rate of 0.3/100,000 in 2013. CONCLUSIONS Changes introduced in the National Tuberculosis Control Program in 1970 led to the successful results achieved in later decades, reducing tuberculosis incidence and mortality. These results also allowed health authorities to propose elimination of the disease in Cuba as a current objective.
  • Emergency Response to Earthquake in Chile: Experience of a Cuban Field Hospital Lessons from the Field

    Pérez, Carlos R.

    Abstract in English:

    This paper presents the author’s experiences in deploying and later establishing a Cuban field hospital in response to the major earthquake that struck Chile in February 2010. It also reveals the initial difficulties the medical team faced and how collaboration with local social, medical and military partners contributed to response efficiency, and highlights the importance of Cuba’s international health cooperation, especially in emergency situations. Over 254 days, Cuban health professionals had 50,048 patient encounters (outpatient visits and hospitalizations), a daily average of 197. They performed 1778 surgeries (1427 major, 80.2% of total) and accumulated valuable experience in managing a field hospital in a disaster situation.
  • Sentinel Surveillance Detects Low Circulation of Vibrio cholerae Serotype Inaba in Haiti, 2011-2012 Lessons from the Field

    Llanes, Rafael; Lazo, Alcides; Somarriba, Lorenzo; Mas, Pedro

    Abstract in English:

    Over 700,000 cases of cholera were reported in Haiti between October 2010 and February 2015. In November 2011, the Cuban Medical Team serving in Haiti established a laboratory-supported sentinel surveillance system for cholera in 10 public hospitals (one in each of Haiti’s 10 departments), to estimate the proportion of hospitalized patients with cholera and detect emergence of new Vibrio cholerae serotypes. Each month, the first ten stool samples collected from patients admitted with acute watery diarrhea were studied in all hospitals involved. Surveillance system findings from November 1, 2011, to October 30, 2012 showed that acute watery diarrhea was caused by V. cholerae serogroup O1 in 45.9% (210/458) of patients: Serotype Ogawa was found in 98.6% of this isolates (207/210) and serotype Inaba in 1.4% (3/210), indicating low circulation level of the latter in Haiti. Continuing laboratory sentinel surveillance of V. cholerae is needed to monitor the spread of the disease and prevent and contain outbreaks, particularly of new serotypes. It is important to ensure that these findings are systematically integrated with data available to MSPP from other surveillance sources.
  • Cuba's Urban Landscape Needs a Second Round of Innovation for Health Viewpoint

    Peña Díaz, Jorge
Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba Oakland - California - United States
E-mail: editors@medicc.org