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MEDICC advocates and supports US-Cuba cooperation that benefits the health of people in both countries and the world, emphasizing its urgency for vulnerable populations.

The US embargo on Cuba has lasted for over half a century, its effects on health of Cubans well-documented by MEDICC’s founders. But especially as Cuban health strategies and biotech produce impressive results, the policy has boomeranged—against the health of people in the US, too.

 

Thus, our access to Cuban-developed drugs is held up by extra hurdles that have nothing to do with the FDA regulatory process: medications vital to cancer and diabetes patients that have proven effective in dozens of other countries. Full collaboration between US and Cuban research centers, universities and companies is stymied by the embargo. And the policy even erects obstacles to joint efforts to stop spread of diseases such as Zika, Ebola and others—despite good will and positive steps on both sides to protect our health.

 

The good news is that renewed diplomatic ties between our two governments open the way for health to be top on the win-win agenda of cooperation. The Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Department of Health & Human Services and Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health was a first, and provides broad opportunities. Thus, while Congress must still lift the embargo altogether, US and Cuban patients and their health care providers can’t wait…and neither has MEDICC…to step up actions to influence policies towards mutually beneficial health.

MEDICC invites you to join us in our two-pronged approach to broaden the scope of cooperation:

FIRST, MEDICC recommends and actively supports policy changes that remove roadblocks to US-Cuba health cooperation.  Thus, we:

 

  • Circulate the 2016 MEDICC White Paper, outlining steps the White House can take to remove barriers, even before the embargo is ended by Congress.
  • Regularly brief the Administration, members of Congress, journalists, the medical community and other influential people on what needs to be changed to open the door enough to make a difference. MEDICC speakers are on call for your organization or institution.
  • Work with constituents across the USA, especially those most harmed by the current policy logjam, to bring them the message: Why Cuba Matters to Your Health. Thus, through MEDICC’s Gateways program, community actors, medical experts, top journalists members of Congress, and leaders of several Native American Nations have visited Cuba and seen for themselves what Cuba might offer to a new partnership for health and health equity.
  • Produce fact sheets on novel Cuban biotech and other products, whose US trials must be freed from embargo red tape. These include information on Heberprot-P, a one-of-a-kind medication that has shown to reduce amputation from diabetic foot ulcers by +70% in dozens of countries. But its availability to US patients languishes in embargo bureaucracy.
  • Comment in US mainstream and scientific media on the urgent need and health benefits of cooperation with Cuba….from the San Francisco Chronicle to the New England Journal of Medicine and beyond.
  • Publish in MEDICC Review scientific research and perspectives by Cuban and other health professionals that provide the evidence base for cooperation.

SECOND, MEDICC introduces US institutions and organizations to potential Cuban partners, who together can make a difference for health and health equity in our countries and beyond. Thus we:

 

  • Broker agreements and letters of intent between organizations and institutions in the United States and Cuba. For example, we led the way for the Memorandum of Understanding between the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the Cuban Society of Public Health. And we have facilitated joint efforts between others, including universities and cancer centers.
  • Facilitate these “introductions” through our Gateways travel program to Cuba… if you’re interested, please visit Gateways on this site.
  • Join with the Cuba Consortium, the Consortium of Universities for Global Health, APHA, and InterAction–and engage other partners, to broaden the scope of our initiatives for joint initiatives, and introduce MEDICC to those who can most help carry collaboration forward.

 

It’s high time we build upon President Obama’s opening, by moving ahead to make US-Cuba cooperation benefit health in the United States, Cuba and the world. It’s a must-do in this globalized world of ours.

 

For more information, contact MEDICC.