Bariatric intervention is a solution for people suffering from extreme obesity or overweight with the implicit physical and psychological damage from the condition. Obesity can have a major impact on the quality of life and life expectancy. This type of surgery is available in Cuba.
The goal of bariatric surgery is weight loss achieved by a variety of techniques, either by surgically reducing the size of the stomach with a gastric band or by the removal of a portion of the stomach or by re-secting and re-routing the small intestine to a small stomach pouch.
According to statistics, obesity affects almost 35% of the inhabitants of the United States. In the U.S., this operation costs more than $20,000. It is estimated that three million patients in the world die each year from morbid obesity. In addition, 44% of obese patients suffer from diabetes, 23% from ischemic heart disease and between 7% and 41% from some cancers attributable to overweight and obesity according to the World Health Organization.
In Havana, bariatric surgery is a surgical procedure available at the Calixto García Hospital. Bariatric surgery has been carried out at the hospital for the last 13 years in the southern medical unit of the Callixto Garcia Hospital. This surgery is performed for both Cuban citizens and international patients.
The surgery is also available in Cienfuegos, a city about three hours by car from Havana. Doctor Gustavo Aldereguía Lima at the Provincial Hospital in Cienfuegos is the only surgeon outside of Havana that performs bariatric surgery.
Daniel Olivera Fajardo, Academic director and Coordinator of the Multidisciplinary Group of Bariatric Metabolic Surgery and also a surgeon for this procedure at the Cienfuegos Hospital told a press conference that bariatric surgery intervention was very successful for the obese patients who underwent the surgery at the hospital. These patients all reached a healthy weight after the surgical correction to their adipose tissues.
For the patients who underwent the surgery, they had suffered greatly in the past from the effects of obesity. They had reached a point where they were ashamed to go out to the street, take their children to school, or undertake most tasks outside of the house. After bariatric surgery, they expressed increased happiness and life satisfaction.
Of the new bariatric surgery program in Cienfuegos, the doctor said, “We provide the mechanism to prevent large patients traveling to the capital from traveling to our program, which consists of 15 steps and is under development.”
The current obesity rate in Cuba is reported to affect 18% of the population.