Contribution to a healthy population aging from the Cuban university of medical sciences


Contribution to a healthy population aging from the Cuban university of medical sciences

Contribución a un envejecimiento poblacional saludable desde la universidad cubana de ciencias médicas


Zaddys Ruiz Hunt1
Alexis Gregory Caballero1
Elizabeth Nicolau Pestana1


1 University of Medical Sciences of Camagüey. Center for Immunology and Biological Products (Cenipbi). Camaguey. Cuba.


* Autor for correspondence. Email:



Submitted: 26/05/2020
Accepted: 28/06/2021



Dear editor:

Aging is a natural process that begins since the individual is borne until his death. It is the set of morphological and physiological modifications that appear as a consequence of the action of time on living beings, which diminish their capacity for internal and external responses. It is an individual process, but also a collective one that occurs in society.(1)

Population aging is considered a success of public health and socioeconomic development policies, but at the same time it constitutes a challenge for society, which must prepare, adapt and transform itself in order to improve health and the functional capacity of the population as much as possible. An elderly person is considered to be any person over 60 years old, and these are subdivided into the following categories: elderly or young elderly 60-74 years; fourth age 75-89 years; longevous people 90-99 years and centenarians more than 100 years.(2)

In 2016, according to the annual report of the World Health Organization (WHO), in the world there were 29 countries that passed the average age of 80 years. The average life expectancy in Cuba is 79.1,(3) making it one of the countries with the highest life expectancy in the international arena.

It is the policy of the Cuban State to prioritize this age group, there are programs and subprograms of care for the elderly coordinated and directed by different sectors and organizations, whose main objectives are to promote their care, quality of life and permanent education, for example: the National Program of the Elderly, led by the Ministry of Public Health(4) and the program of University professorship for the Elderly, by the Ministry of Higher Education.

The WHO in 2018 stated that health and well-being for the elderly are expressed by their functional capacity and can be maximized from intersectorality; the proposal offered a set of tools, models of care and levels of coordination, centered on people to lead the implementation of changes in health systems, institutions and the community in general.(5) It is meaningful to establish sustainable models of care for the elderly that respond to the needs that the moment demands, but viable for future times in such a way as to protect and guarantee the process of present and future population aging.

In this sense, the medical university fulfilling its social commitment must adapt and prepare based on its capacities and strengths to contribute to meeting the demand for public health services that elderly people need, from all educational settings, it must incorporate and strengthen intergenerational solidarity, humanism, medical ethics, respect and responsibility as professional values of students in the university and directed towards the whole society, and therefore, to this vulnerable age group.

Healthy aging depends on the assumed lifestyle that includes physical activity, sexuality, food, addictions, affective relationships, recreation, among others; therefore, medical education centers must strengthen health promotion actions in their workers, students and the community to develop a culture of healthy and active aging. In this sense, intersectorality is essential, to form community projects that guarantee efficiency and effectiveness in the care of the elderly.(6)

It is meaningful that the medical university guarantees, through continuous undergraduate and postgraduate learning, the competencies of health professionals in terms of care for the elderly, mainly primary care personnel, since they interact and intervene directly with the elderly in different community contexts.

The authors consider that the medical university, as a source of knowledge has a leading role in scientific research and innovation, also in the creation, transfer and application of knowledge to solve the specific problems of the elderly. The medical university in its efforts to achieve excellence in education and in its commitment to the social project of the Cuban Revolution can contribute to strengthening the practice of multidisciplinary and intersectorial care, carrying out prevention, promotion and rehabilitation actions as fundamental tools that they facilitate health intervention in the community and the planning of the necessary resources to guarantee the quality of life and healthy aging of the Cuban society.



1. Caballero Poutou EL, Linares Fernández ME. Cómo garantizar un envejecimiento sostenible en el entorno laboral. La Habana: Editorial Ciencias Médicas; 2019.

2. Organización Mundial de la Salud OMS. Envejecimiento. [Internet]. 2015. Disponible en:

3. Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS). Estadísticas de Salud del Mundo. Monitoreo de la Salud para los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenibles (ODS). [Internet]. 2016. Disponible en:

4. Arzuaga Ramírez M., Pérez Pérez B. Proyecto de vida y tercera edad. Una experiencia comunitaria. Referencia Pedagógica [Internet] 2015. [citado 06/09/2019];(2):[aprox. 10 p.]. Disponible en:

5. WHO. Integrated Care for Older People. [Internet] 2018. Disponible en:

6. Flores Herrera BI, Castillo Muraira Y, Ponce Martínez D, Miranda Posadas C, Peralta Cerda EG, Durán Badillo T. Percepción de los adultos mayores acerca de su calidad de vida. Una perspectiva desde el contexto familiar. Rev Enferm Inst Mex [Internet]. 2018. [citado 06/09/2019];26(2):[aprox. 5 p.]. Disponible en:



Declaration of interests

The authors declare not to have any interest conflicts.



Authors' contribution

Zaddys Ruiz Hunt, Alexis Gregory Caballero, Elizabeth Nicolau Pestana: the authors participated in the bibliographic review, preparation and revision of the final draft.



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