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Cuba exploring possibility of producing vaccines in M’sia

Cuba has extended an invitation to Malaysia to explore the possibility of producing Cuban vaccines in Malaysia, as the country is renowned for its healthcare innovations and affordability.

Speaking to Bernama during the Cuban National Day here recently, its ambassador to Malaysia, Ibete Fernandez Hernandez said Malaysia had ample facilities to produce these vaccines.

“Malaysia can be a platform for the production of vaccines that will be beneficial... I see so many possibilities and Malaysian businesspeople can go to Cuba to see what we are doing there.

“In the past, Malaysia and Cuba had enjoyed trade relations, for this, we need to enhance our friendship and explore the possibility of opening trade in the area of vaccine production, among others,” said Hernandez.

The Caribbean nation is well known for its medical advancement and it pioneered the world’s first lung cancer vaccine, Cimavax, launched in 2011.

“Cuba continues to be a country where access to health and education were very good, something we  achieved following the Cuban Revolution in 1959.

“In 2017, Cuba reached the lowest infant mortality rate in its history, with four per 1,000 births and a life expectancy of 78.45 years,” she said.

Hernandez (photo) also noted that despite the difficult economic climate, Cuba finished 2017 with encouraging signs of economic recovery, as the country achieved a GDP growth of 1.6 per cent, despite being in an aggravated scenario of financial restrictions, insufficient availability of fuels and the impact of acute drought.

The dynamics in the agriculture, communication, construction and tourism sectors made the growth possible, she added.

“We will also work to consolidate the still incipient participation of foreign investment in our economy, which showed superior results last year, but certainly still insufficient.

“A total of 80 investment projects with foreign participation are under negotiations and there are real possibilities for them to materialise in 2018,” Hernandez said.

On Feb 6, Malaysia and Cuba will enter the 43rd anniversary of their diplomatic ties which have been exemplary and respectful.

“Nevertheless, the strengthening of the trade relationship between both continues will be a challenge, and I reiterate that the distance between our countries is not an obstacle when friendship exists, and I’m confident that a mutually beneficial cooperation can be established between the two countries,” she said.

The Cuban National Day, also significantly known as the 59th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, observed on Jan 1, was celebrated on Jan 23 in Malaysia.

- Bernama

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