71 UNGA: Statement by H. E. Mr. Abelardo Moreno Fernández, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs at the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly´s High-Level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance.

Mr. President,

As we discuss microbial resistance, 400 million people across the globe do not have access to basic health services. An important part of them will die owing to a lack of access to the most essential medicines. Indeed, many will perish because they will not be able to use common antimicrobials, and even for not having anyone to prescribe them.

It is shameful that some 18,000 children around the world die every day from poverty-related causes or that only 70 per cent of the world population has adequate social protection coverage.

Such terrible situation basically affects the developing countries, although it has an effect on minorities in industrialized countries, the once “welfare societies”. So, if we are to resolve the most pressing health problems besieging much of the world's population, the huge gap between rich and poor countries must be eliminated.

It is indispensable to overcome the unjust prevailing international order, in which the international economic, financial, administrative, food and environmental crisis have an impact.

Joint efforts are required to face increased illness, population ageing and health inequalities in the entire planet.

We repudiate that although many developing countries lack sufficient health professionals, they must face the drain of talents and qualified staff required to drive forward comprehensive policies in this area. Therefore, selective migration policies and programs directly or indirectly stimulating the plundering of qualified health staff, implemented by a number of developed States to the detriment of the countries of the South, is inadmissible. The drain of this staff dismantles and weakens the health systems of our countries.

Mr. President,

Although my country is also a victim of this practice, and despite the continued economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States, Cuba has a unique health care system, which is free of charge, equally accessible to all and based on Primary Health Care. It also has a Basic Schedule of 849 medicines, out of which 20.2 % are antimicrobials.

Based on experience, we defend the need to strengthen health systems based on primary health care and to identify new mechanisms for these systems to be able to sustainably ensure coverage for the entire population.

We believe it is necessary to reduce the spread of infections through effective sanitation, hygiene and prevention steps, thus reducing the use of medicines, including antimicrobials.

In order to face microbial resistance, the contribution of laboratories in terms of surveillance, reference and research is equally vital and largely depends on the availability of material and trained human resources. My country has invested a great deal of effort in ensuring these materials and the training of qualified staff.

Mr. President,

There is an urgent need to globalize solidarity and enhance all forms of North-South and South-South cooperation, while we face serious global challenges in the field of health.

You can be certain that Cuba will continue to honor its commitment to collaboration among developing countries and to the spread of the best practices. Our country will continue advocating the change of the exclusive international order, which drives millions of people from the south into health marginalization.

Thank you very much