October 12th , 2009 at 15:01 · Clasificados en Sin Evasión
Suddenly, the media has begun to disclose some information about the pandemic of swine flu in Cuba. Until a few weeks ago, the disease was mentioned only occasionally in reference to cases that arose in the U.S. and other countries, or about the very few cases reported in Cuba, always related to “foreigners” or to Cubans who were traveling, carriers that introduced it to the country and were properly treated and cured by the fabulous and efficient health system on the island. Judging by the media, the pandemic was something belonging to “the outside”, one of those terrible things that afflicted the poor people who live beyond our blessed our social system.
Now, by coincidence, after the Juanes concert and his invitees that was held in Havana before a crowd of more than one million people, the terrible influenza appears to have gained strength here, and a gloomy forecast calls for an increase of the outbreak in the winter months. Given the current official emphasis on disseminating the symptoms of the disease and the measures taken to prevent its transmission, some Cubans question the lack of responsibility of the authorities when promoting such a human concentration this past September 20th, in the midst of the potential danger of the virus about which -according to statements by the official media itself- little is known.
There is already talk of some closed schools and the suspension of the morning patriotics, it is recommended to stay at least 1 meter away from other people, avoid crowds, greetings with kisses or handshakes and enclosed spaces; a set of measures directed at another world, not at the reality in which people are forced to crowd into buses, in poorly ventilated classrooms, in stores without air conditioning, on the eternal lines. Officially, it is recommended that we improve our hygiene -despite the high prices of toiletries and cleaning products- while we live in an extremely dirty city, crowded with waste, sewers, leaks, with a deplorable and outdated water supply and sewage system, and in which a significant portion of the population has no running water. We do not know if it’s possible to get vaccines or retro-viral drugs in any pharmacy and, as reported by the press, and it’s only possible to be tested for the disease at the Institute for Tropical Medicine, in the city of Havana.
The state of helplessness of the ordinary Cuban is reinforced in this lethal combination that is the lack of information about the real state of the epidemic on the island, the poor hygiene and the total dependence on a health system increasingly more precarious and inefficient. Never before was our health more threatened: to the usual influenza that typically affect us every year around these months, add the new strain A (H1N1), conjunctivitis, and the already familiar dengue fever persists among us, without it being officially considered as chronic. So far, we don’t sense an effective response on the part of the authorities.