Havana, Nov 26 (Prensa Latina) Cuban women make up today 69 percent of health and social assistance professionals since they took on the challenge of becoming doctors and nurses, two professions that were denied to them in the past.
In 1953, there were only 403 woman doctors in Cuba for 6.5 percent of all the doctors in the island. However, since 1959 until the 2017 Cuban universities graduated 331,518 doctors, many of them women.
One of the graduates in 1964 was Pura Aviles Cruz (born in 1935) who become an outstanding Assistant and Consulting Professor on Medical Sciences at the Provincial Teaching Hospital of Holguin V. I. Lenin.
Second Degree Specialist on Anesthesiology, Reanimation and Intensive Care, Dr. Aviles was conferred the award of Labor Heroine of the Republic of Cuba, and was also elected to serve at the National Assembly in the 7th Legislature (2008-2013). Many others have followed her footsteps. Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez recently highlighted that Cuban woman doctors have not hesitated when asked to work in places of extreme poverty in the shanty towns of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Salvador de Bahia and in 34 Special Indigenous Districts of Brazil’s Amazonia.
Nearly, 20,000 Cuban health professionals participated for five years in the More Doctors for Brazil program, sponsored by the Pan American Health Organization, in more than 3,600 municipalities where they provided medical care to 60 million Brazilians, according to official data.
Today, women make up 53 percent of Cuban Parliament, and among them there are doctors and nurses, who also hold key responsibilities in their labor and professional endeavor.
Another example was Rosa Elena Simeon Negrin (1943-2004) who chaired the Academy of Sciences of Cuba and Minister of Sciences, Technology and the Environment. Simeon graduated from medicine in 1967 and then from Veterinarian Sciences.
A notable woman of sciences and lawmaker, she served as an expert on virology for the UN Agriculture and Food Organization and represented Cuba at the Summit of the Earth in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.