The medical university in its confrontation with COVID-19: challenges that it has assumed


The medical university in its confrontation with COVID-19: challenges that it has assumed

La universidad médica en su enfrentamiento a la COVID-19: retos que ha presupuesto


María Cristina Pérez Guerrero1*
Berenix Lozano Vega1


1 Camagüey University of Medical Sciences. Technological Faculty. Cuba.


* Author for correspondence. Email:



Submitted: 02/06/2020
Accepted: 17/03/2021



Dear editor:

Since the plague of Athens in 430 BC. up to COVID-19 in the 21st century, more than 20 pandemics have put human survival at risk. Four of the deadliest have been the Black Death, smallpox, Spanish flu, and HIV / AIDS.(1) Unfortunately, the best known of the current COVID-19 pandemic is its high transmission and lethality. Our comment will focus on the role that the medical university has had in the confrontation with COVID-19 and the challenges that this has entailed.

Equity has been a principle in our society, not even in moments of greatest financial and material difficulties; Cuba has closed a school, a hospital, or a university.(2)

The Constitution of the Republic of Cuba(3) establishes the humanistic and solidarity principles that characterize public health, in the same way in its Article 73 it expresses that education is a right of all people and the responsibility of the State, which guarantees free, affordable and quality education for comprehensive training health services, from early childhood to postgraduate university education.

The Cuban National Health System is dynamically organized, it has gone through different stages and transformations of what to do and how to do it better, with the purpose of improving the health of our people.(4)

Public health is a priority in Cuba, the will of the State has allowed us to organize ourselves and face the pandemic. In these hard times, Cuba shares its experience and supports the rest of the world. There are numerous Cuban medical brigades that are in different countries providing medical care. The organization, in the most diverse aspects, is a vital principle in the current scene that the country is experiencing in the face of COVID-19.(5)

The medical university has always taken into account the ideas expressed by Martí: «Seeing later is not worth it. What it really matter is seeing before hand and being prepared».(6)

For the academy, the challenge is complex and involves the implementation of a set of strategies by the teaching staff and students, as well as the commitment of all. There are multiple postgraduate actions carried out throughout the country to train professionals in the health branch.

Undergraduate students carry out surveillance and screening actions to provide care to the population, an educational task that includes promotion and prevention actions. All of this responds to the humanistic and supportive principles that should characterize future health professionals.

Medical education designs strategies to maintain the quality of the teaching process, either in undergraduate or graduate degrees in the acquisition of the necessary skills for the performance of the profession. The challenge is not only due to the application of the biosafety protocols that must be taken into account, but it is also rigorous in the methodological work to reorganize, adapt spaces and contents, where the work of the subject, year, discipline and degree teaching staffs are essential.

In the same way, the virtual university has had a relevant role at present. Distance learning has strengthened the independent search for knowledge in learners. In this way, medical science students integrate new technologies into their daily work, in accordance with the growing demands of 21st century Medicine, which imposes the challenge of training a comprehensive professional.(7) It has been a training period for life, a new experience.

Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez the President of the Republic makes the daily call to continue working with rigor, precision and demand: principles which rest on the success that can be had in the confrontation with COVID-19 in the island. (8) In the current circumstances, Cuban universities have continued working. The Cuban Ministry of Higher Education has granted resolutions for the continuity and completion of studies, depending on the epidemiological situation of the country.

The effort of students, the teaching staffs and the board of directors of the university has been enormous, as well as the willingness of all those involved in medical education, these are some of the challenges facing the university today. Current times offer opportunities to learn, there is confidence in our professionals, students, universities and in the rest of the population. Joint actions can be successful in the fight against COVID-19.



1. Velázquez Fuentes F. ¿Es la Covid- 19 la más mortíferas de las pandemias? Granma. 4 mayo 2020; sec 4: 6(col. 5):3.

2. Díaz-Canel Bermúdez M. La universidad y el desarrollo sostenible: una visión desde Cuba En: Conferencia Inaugural 8vo Congreso Internacional de Educación superior. Cuba: Mined; 2012.

3. Cuba. Constitución de la República de Cuba. La Habana: Editora Política, 2019.

4. Morales Ojeda R. Conferencia Magistral: Salud Universal para el desarrollo sostenible en Cuba. En: III Convención Internacional de Salud Pública. La Habana: Palacio de Convenciones; Jul- Sep 2018.

5. Puig Meneses Y. Organización, premisa esencial para enfrentar con éxito la Covid- 19. Granma. 25 abril 2020; sec 4: 6 (col. 1):2.

6. Martí J. Las Reformas en Cuba. Patria. En: Obras Completas T3. La Habana: Ciencias Sociales; 1991.

7. Borges Jorge ZM, Peralta Castellón Ll, Sánchez Rivas EM, Pérez Rodríguez RE. Educación a distancia: reflexiones desde la obra del Dr. Juan Virgilio López Palacio. EDUMECENTRO [Internet]. 2020 [citado 04/01/2021];12(2):[aprox. 12 p.]. Disponible en:

8. Puig Meneses Y. Seguir trabajando con rigor y precisión contra la Covid- 19. Granma. 2 abril 2020, sec 5:2(col. 1):3.



Declaration of interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.



Authors' contribution

María Cristina Pérez Guerrero: analyzed the bibliography and wrote the final draft.
Berenix Lozano Vega: carried out the critical review and agreed with the final draft.



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