Liver Health Connection en La Habana, Cuba

In early April, Liver Health Connection board member Dr. Marcelo Kugelmas organized a delegation of U.S. hepatologists to educate and learn from hepatologists and gastroenterologists in Cuba.  Pictured below are some of the attendees of the Hepatology and Liver Transplant Symposium in Havana, Cuba including doctors from the United States, Cuba and Spain as well as Liver Health Connection’s Executive Director Nancy Steinfurth.

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The U.S. hepatologists shared their expertise in liver transplantation, hepatitis C treatment, liver cancer and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease among other topics.  Dr. Zobair Younossi from Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virgina is shown here sharing an overview of hepatitis C treatment in the United States.

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The Cuban doctors shared on their highly successful efforts to eradicate hepatitis B in the country.  More than 99% of newborn are vaccinated for hep B and in 2016 the whole Cuban population under 36 years of age was covered by the vaccination program. Part of the success in HBV elimination is a the extensive medical care that women receive during pregnancy – pictured here is an old bank converted into clinic for pregnant women who receive daily monitoring during the final weeks of pregnancy.

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As for hepatitis C prevention and treatment, the U.S. delegation was surprised to learn: 1) injection drug use is practically nonexistent in Cuba; and 2) pegelated interferon (which they produce in Cuba) is still the standard treatment for hep C on the island.  Based on these two facts alone, it’s obvious the both countries can benefit from ongoing communication with each other about viral hepatitis.

The trip of course was not all shop talk.  The delegation had the opportunity to see the country such as the Univeridad de Habana pictured here . . .Cuba4

. . . and the Habor de Habana seen here.

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