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The World Health Organization declared Cuba the first country in the world to eliminate the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mother to child on Tuesday, reports Reuters.

In 2013, only two children in Cuba were born with HIV and five with syphilis, the WHO said in a statement. That organization and the Pan American Health Organization sent an international delegation to Cuba in March, and determined the country met the criteria for the designation.

“Eliminating transmission of a virus is one of the greatest public health achievements possible,” Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO director-general, said in a Tuesday press release. “This is a major victory in our long fight against HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and an important step towards having an AIDS-free generation.”

The PAHO and WHO credited Cuba with offering women early access to prenatal care, HIV and syphilis testing, and treatment for mothers who test positive. The two organizations began an effort to end congenital transmission of HIV and syphilis in Cuba and other countries in the Americas in 2010.

As much as the country is denigrated by certain segments of the American populace, Cuba’s Communist government considers its free healthcare a major achievement of the 1959 revolution, reports Reuters. In the past, the WHO has named Cuba’s Health Care System as “a model for the world.


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SOURCE: Reuters | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images