Havana, Cuba: Protecting and caring for our children, not only from the damage to their health caused by COVID-19, but also from its emotional effects, is also a challenge for the Cuban scientific community from the first moment in which the disease crossed the borders of the national territory.

“This is one of the most humane, sensitive issues” that we have developed in these complex months, recognized President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, in a new meeting with scientists and experts.

The Head of State considered what was achieved very stimulating and uplifting, after listening to the explanation of the results obtained in the country in comprehensive care for children, adolescents and young people, in the midst of this new context.

From the Palace of the Revolution, the usual place where these exchanges take place every week, from the April 1st, 2020, he thanked those who participated in the theme. This is a sample, he said, which continues to confirm to us that the government’s permanent and systematic dialogue space with experts, academics and scientists yields results.

Our population has to feel very confident that the country has scientific institutions and people dedicated to finding solutions, addressing all issues and areas in which the disease affects us, he stressed.


How has the confinement imposed by the epidemiological situation caused by COVID-19 influenced our population at risk, especially the very young? What actions are put into practice to alleviate the psychological effects that the disease could bring with it in children, adolescents and young people?

On the answers to these and other questions, specialists who work, in conjunction with Minsap experts, to carry out comprehensive actions aimed at the care of children, adolescents and young people, in the course of these months, commented in detail to the President this Tuesday.

As explained by the head of the Mental Health Section of the Minsap, Dr. Carmen Beatriz Borrego Calzadilla, the extensive psychosocial support and mental health program designed in the country during the health emergency caused by COVID-19, has as a significant element that It has been conceived in its entirety, with actions ranging from promotion, education, prevention, therapy and teaching, to research.

The purpose is to minimize, as much as possible, the impact they have on the mental health of the child-adolescent population and the Cuban family, the confinement measures and, above all, the time that the health emergency is prolonging.

Self-care and self-responsibility are two very important aspects, Borrego Calzadilla valued. “That is the vaccine that this group proposes to accompany the country and achieve containment of this pandemic,” she said.

Dr. Tania Adriana Peón Valdés, a specialist in child psychiatry, confirmed the importance of providing differentiated care to this risk group, of which, at the end of March 26, 8,359 patients had been diagnosed.

The confinement itself to protect them – she said – has generated a series of conditions that lead to the fact that in the homes it has not always been possible to carry out some essential activities for their development. The game, in the case of early childhood; Studies in school-age children and relationships with their peers for adolescents, she said, are essential activities for psychological development.

Taking into account the results of the investigations that have been carried out in the country, Peón Valdés explained, our children, adolescents and young people have shown various adaptive responses to confinement.

As part of them, she commented on the manifestation of excess attachment, anxiety, irritability, frequent crying, willfulness, rebellious and defiant behavior, as well as difficulty concentrating. Similarly, there has been an increase in the use of technologies and a change in their lifestyle.

When carrying out a characterization of the population that has fallen ill at these ages, she explained that their source of infection, for the most part, has been the family environment. Fifty-one percent of those infected are male and 49 percent female, and the highest figures were found in 18-year-old patients.

On the curricular adaptations, Silvia Navarro, director of the Institute of Pedagogical Sciences, commented that they have covered all levels of education.

For the investigations that we have carried out, she pointed out, the students have been divided into three groups: the convalescent, those who did not become ill, but were related to a patient, and those who have not had a direct link with the disease. It is the latter, he assured, who have been affected the most emotionally, while convalescents show greater attachment and difficulty concentrating.

To accompany the care, the support of the neurosciences has also been sought, from which, detailed Rosario Torres, head of the Department of Neuroscience Psychology, proposals for computer applications have been developed to guide parents on what they should do in homes, and others with activities for the development of the preschool child.

Collaboration with other educational and health institutions has also been strengthened. Such is the case of the proposals recognized by the director of Cinesoft, Iván Barreto, who considered it a huge challenge to convert the indications and suggestions given by the Mental Health group into messages for the youngest: clear messages and, at the same time, simple.

Por Redacción digital

Equipo de redactores del sitio web de Radio Mayabeque

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