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Mayor Bowser Meets with Dr. Mariela Castro and Cuban Healthcare Leaders

Monday, February 22, 2016
Exploration of Cuba’s healthcare system includes visit to renowned National Center of Sexual Education

(Havana, CUBA) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser met with Cuban healthcare leaders, including Dr. Mariela Castro, Director of research institution CENESEX and daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro. Cuba has consistently maintained high health standards, despite a scarcity of resources. 

Dr. Castro led Mayor Bowser on a tour of CENESEX, a teaching and research institution in the area of ​​human sexuality, best known for advocating for tolerance of LGBTQ residents, and a leader in education concerning contraception and AIDS.

“A city is only as strong as the health and well-being of its residents,” said Mayor Bowser.  “No matter your background or economic status, everyone has the right to quality health care - and it’s encouraging to see that Cuba has made that a top priority. The District will continue to identify opportunities – at home and abroad – that lead to expanded medical research, more affordable preventative care, and proven programs that protect the health of future generations.”

Earlier in the day, Mayor Bowser met with Cuba’s Minister of Public Health Roberto Morales Ojeda at the Vedado Polyclinic, a neighborhood clinic in Havana. Mayor Bowser and Minister of Public Health Morales Ojeda discussed how Cuban health policy translates to the municipal level and other topics of mutual interest, including disease prevention.

The visits to CENESEX and Vedado Polyclinic are part of an exploratory mission from February 20-25th led by the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Mayor Bowser is laying the groundwork for future relationships and potential economic and cultural opportunities with Cuba, as both countries move towards engagement instead of isolation. The mission also serves as a platform for the regional delegation to learn best practices and showcase the Washington metropolitan area’s strengths in transportation, tourism, health, and education.