“Growing Healthy” virtual workshop begins. A challenge in caring for preterm children and children with low weight at birth. Current scenario in the post-pandemic stage, with support from the Government of Japan and the accompaniment of UNICEF

11 April 2022
La Dra. Odalys Rodríguez, Oficial de Programa de salud de UNICEF Cuba, durante su presentación en la inauguración del taller virtual "Crecer saludable”. Un reto para la atención de niñas y niños pretérmino y bajo peso en la Atención Primaria de Salud (APS). Escenario actual en la etapa pospandemia COVID-19
Miguel Ernesto Gómez

Havana, April 11, 2022.- The virtual workshop “Growing Healthy” began with the support of the Government of Japan and the accompaniment of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). A challenge in caring for preterm children and children with low weight at birth in Primary Healthcare (PH). Current scenario in the post-pandemic stage of COVID-19.

For the space of a week, chapter presidents[i] of the Cuban Society of Pediatrics from all over the country, as well as those in charge of provincial pediatrics groups and of the provincial pediatrics commissions, members of Primary Healthcare and pediatricians in PH will attend lectures by renowned healthcare professionals and will debate on these topics by means of a Telegram group created for the event.

At the workshop’s inauguration, Dr. Gisela Álvarez Valdés highlighted the event as a space for the training of professionals in primary healthcare regarding topics related to preterm birth and children with low weight at birth, and the monitoring of those children by the health area, on a community level. The virtual meeting also means to carry out an assessment of the experiences acquired since the beginning of the pandemic and analyze Cuba’s current circumstances in dealing with COVID-19. Doctor Álvarez expressed her gratitude for UNICEF’s support in realizing this action, as well as for that of the Center for Neurosciences of Cuba, which hosts the event.

The workshop is part of the project “Strengthening of the health capacities for the COVID-19 crisis”, signed between UNICEF and the Government of Japan in October 2021, and which is already in its implementation phase, as part of the efforts to bolster Cuba’s national healthcare system in the context of the pandemic.

Among the project’s main objectives is to contribute to the strengthening of the institutional capacities for the cold chain, through the acquisition of equipment, medical devices and spare parts, which will enable the response to the COVID-19 health emergency.

“This virtual workshop is integrated into one of the project’s expected results, which consists of the strengthening of the technical capacities of healthcare professionals, especially those related to PH, from the pediatrics consultation, and with the participation of community doctors and nurses. We hope they will be able to incorporate new knowledge, skills and updates during this week, which will allow them to improve healthcare services offered to preterm children and children with low weight at birth”, pointed out Dr. Odalys Rodríguez, UNICEF Cuba’s health Program Official.

The workshop’s lecturers will deal with diverse topics, among them a current overview of the increase of premature births and births of children with very low weight; the socialization of the Cuban experience in health during the first 1,000 days; an approach to and perspectives on development theories and the origin of health and disease.

On the other hand, they will share knowledge on the etiology and characterization of preterm and undernourished newborns; the importance of genetic evaluation in preterm newborns; the vigilance of growth and development of preterm children and children with low weight at birth; the importance of intestinal microbiota in newborns at risk; and considerations on the use of pasteurized human milk in the nourishment of children with very low weight at birth.

Likewise, they will approach the complementary nourishment of breast-fed children who had low weight at birth; the evaluation of preterm children’s neurological development; the monitoring strategy for preterm children and children with low weight at birth in PH and, as a conclusion, the projections of pediatrics in Cuba.


[i] “Each of the country’s provinces has a chapter of the Cuban Society of Pediatrics, which periodically elects its own local board of directors.” DOMÍNGUEZ DIEPPA, Fernando; ABREU SUÁREZ, Gladys. Pasado, presente y perspectivas de la Sociedad Cubana de Pediatría en su 90 aniversario (Past, present and projections of the Cuban Society of Pediatrics in its 90th anniversary). Revista Cubana de Pediatría, [S.l.], v. 90, n. 1, dic. 2017. ISSN 1561-3119. Available at:

Media contacts

Tania Muñoz
Oficial de Comunicaciones
United Nations Children´s Fund - UNICEF Cuba
Tel: (+537) 2086307
Tel: (+537) 2089791


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook