Friday, 3 July 2015

Cuba | US Relations, HIV transmission

Why in news?
US reopening embassies in Cuba.



Source: The Hindu
Significance:
  • Vindication of Obama’s policy of engaging with nations with which Washington has hostile relations - patient and creative diplomacy
  • Importance for US:
    • U.S. embassy in Havana, nearly 54 years after President Dwight Eisenhower broke off diplomatic relations. Successive U.S. governments tried to overthrow and isolate the communist regime through various means, such as a proxy war, attempts to assassinate leaders, and sanctions aimed at its economy. But this approach failed miserably.
    • In Latin America, it is the U.S. that stands isolated, while the rise of new progressive forces to power has strengthened Cuba’s standing in the region.
  • Importance for Cuba:
    • The Communist Party of Cuba knows the country can no longer count on others for economic support. 
      • The Soviet Union, its Cold War-era benefactor, has become history. 
      • Hugo Ch├ívez, the Venezuelan President who started the sale of cheap oil to Cuba, is no more, and 
      • the socialist regime in Caracas is battling its own challenges. 
    • To recover from its economic troubles, Cuba has moved to ease state controls over the economy and allow private capital greater play. 
      • Against this backdrop, better cooperation with the U.S. and the eventual removal of the blockade would prove boons for a changing Cuban economy. 

Challenges:
  • military-political threats from the U.S. - and countering US hegemony
  • maintaining the socialist character of Cuba

News about Healthcare in CUBA

  • WHO has certified Cuba as the first country in the world to effectively eliminate mother-to-baby transmission of HIV, which causes AIDS, and syphilis.
  • The WHO hailed this as “one of the greatest public health achievements possible”, in no small part because it was achieved by pursuing relatively straightforward strategies: 
    • high rates of HIV testing, 
    • better screening and treatment of expectant parents, 
    • concentrating on high-risk groups, and 
    • giving HIV- and syphilis-positive mothers options to protect their babies, like bottle-feeding and Caesarean deliveries.
  • India: less than 30 per cent of HIV-positive pregnant women have access to prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV services
    • India successfully pursued such a strategy to eradicate polio. 
    • It can draw from its own experience, and from Cuba’s, for another big win for its healthcare system.

[Sources: Indian Express, The Hindu]

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