History of Medical Sciences in Cuba
Cuba has a long-established scientific history which could be considered to have started with the publication in 1673, in Spain, of the first scientific tome written in Cuba by Lazaro de Flores, a physician. The first scientific paper published in Cuba itself was in 1714 and was on astronomical observations. The founding of the Real y Pontificia "Universidad de San Gerónimo” in Havana in 1728 for the study of medicine formally established medical scientific investigation and this was followed by the founding of the Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País based in the scientific output of the universities, in 1793.
The year 1797 is considered the year of “scientific explosion” because of the number of scientific papers emanating from La Habana. They included "Disertación sobre algunas plantas cubanas", "Oración inaugural en elogio de la cirugía", "Disertación sobre la fiebre maligna llamada vulgarmente vómito negro"," Discurso sobre las buenas propiedades de la tierra bermeja para el cultivo de la caña"," Memoria sobre el mejor modo de fabricar azúcar…” and, in July that year, the first defense of the theories of Copernicus was published.
By 1826 there had developed a significant life-sciences scientific establishment which was evidenced in part by the launching of the Medical Journal of Havana in 1840 and the creation of the Real Academia de Ciencias Médicas, Físicas y Naturales de la Habana in 1861. In 1867 the Academia de Ciencias in Havana was founded, followed by the Sociedad Para Estudios Clínicos in 1879, representing the first multi-disciplinary health sciences organization in Cuba.
In 1898 Dr. Carlos Finlay, funded by the Sociedad Para Estudios Clínicos, propounded a novel theory on the contagion of disease by describing biological vectors. This enabled him to discover the manner of transmission of yellow fever. This discovery is often, but erroneously, attributed to Walter Reed in the USA. Finlay's discovery was followed by important advances made by Pedro Albarrán in urology and González Echevarría in urology.
Trade and Financial relations between Canada and Cuba date from times when the country was still a colony from Spain
In 1891 the Sociedad de Higiene and its publication were launched. In 1908, the Sociedad para la Medicina Tropical was organized, followed by the Sociedad Cubana de Pediatría in 1928 and the Sociedad Nacional de Cirugía and the Sociedad de Dermatología in 1929. Societies for obstetrical and gynecological sciences were founded in 1939 and the societies for Medicina Preventiva , Numerología y Psiquiatría in 1942. The Sociedad de Medicina del Trabajo was founded in 1949 and the Sociedad de Administradores de Hospitales, Clínicas y Sanatorios in 1951.
The history continues vigorously following the dramatic changes of 1959, with the Revolutionary Government led by Fidel Castro placing the development of Science and Medicine at the top of of its political program, as described in the section of this site named "The Saga of Cuban Biosciences"