Cuba has 2,153 inhabitants who exceed one hundred years

Cuba, with about 11.2 million inhabitants, has a population of 2,153 people over one hundred years old and at least three of them between 113 and 115, according to official figures published today in Juventud Rebelde and corresponding to the first quarter of this year.

Of that population, more than 1,200 people are women, while by geographical distribution longevity is concentrated mainly in the eastern provinces of the country, with Havana as an exception.

Thus, the province-capital has 303 centennial inhabitants; Granma 249; Santiago de Cuba 245; Holguin 190, according to data from the Cuban Ministry of Public Health (Minsap).

They are followed by Villa Clara (183), Las Tunas (150), Camagüey (126), Guantanamo (118), Pinar del Rio (109), Sancti Spíritus (107) and Matanzas (102). Centenaries include the special municipality of Isla de la Juventud (12), Artemisa (59), Mayabeque (59), Ciego de Ávila (60) and Cienfuegos (84).

An article published last March by the island's media presented María Emilia Quesada Blanco, 116, the longest-living woman in the country and the fourth in the world, although she does not appear in international records.

Dr. Alberto Fernández, head of the Department of the Elderly, Social Welfare and Mental Health of Minsap, told that Cuba is among the countries with the highest population aging rate, with more than 2.2 million people over 60 years, almost 20 % of the population.

He added that more than 87 % of cubans survive at age 60 and predicted that in the next decade 90 % will.

"They are an example of successful population aging, because more than victims are survivors and most have developed mechanisms that have allowed them to reach the end of human life. Studies show that most are not insane, disabled or dependent in their entirety " said the official.

The reasons for Cuban longevity, he explained, are both a decline in fertility and mortality, along with guarantees of free access to the health system and coverage of social security programs.

Fernandez said that since it is a "very vulnerable" segment, the centenarians are guaranteed a quarterly medical follow-up that happens to be monthly "in the most critical cases."

Disposable diapers, articulated beds and wheelchairs are some of the items most requested by Cuban centenarians, plus hearing aids, which Cuba will buy 7,000 this year.

On the island there are 149 nursing homes with a capacity for 11,801 beds, 289 "grandparents' homes" (daytime stay) with 9,563 places and 50 geriatrics services in which 305 health professionals work.

"As the population of older adults increases in the country, we must also increase geriatrics in health services," said the official, who also highlighted the "vital initiative" of incorporating messengers in more than 1,500 pharmacies in the country.

At the other end of the scale, Cuba recorded 116,872 births last year - 8,192 fewer than in 2015 - and recently passed legislation to promote fertility, its "main demographic problem".

Source: Agency EFE
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