At the request of the Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, then First Minister of the Revolutionary Government of Cuba, in July 1968, the Rector of the University of Havana held a meeting with students in the 5th year of their studies in the School of Medicine. The objective was to achieve that a group of them accepted to be trained to integrate the staff of a new research center. In the following year, the first CENSA’s scientific staff arose.
In January 1969, a group of newly graduated doctors joined the National Centre for Scientific Researches (CNIC) with the aim of carrying out researches responding to the livestock problems in the country, initially focused on the fields of animal health, genetics and reproduction, development of researches, highly specialized services, particularly in the diagnosis of exotic diseases, and postgraduate education.
Doctors have made an important contribution to the technical training for the Animal Health Research Center so that, advancing along a right way and being earlier than the diseases, they will greatly contribute to animal health, which will be an important influence on human health. At the National Center for Scientific Researches, they are receiving a two-year course to carry out their duties at another research center which is being promoted already and will soon be built.
In mid-1970, the Livestock Research Department (DIP) in the agricultural branch of CNIC was created, while the new center began to be built in areas near San José de las Lajas.
The National Center for Animal and Plant Health (CENSA) project worked at two locations, in a simultaneous and harmonious way either by the continuous exchange of ideas, opinions, and suggestions or by the participation of the scientific-technical staff in the planning of the technical resources, design of laboratories, and construction works being organized. At DIP, important specialized scientific services for the country began to be carried out, among them the study on molasses drunkenness and the diagnostic kit for tuberculosis.
Meritorious was the acting of these research workers in the first important mission assigned to them when the African Swine Fever (ASF) was suspected to be present in the country on May 6th, l971, a disease first diagnosed in Cuba and throughout the Americas. Thanks to the control program implemented, the disease was declared eradicated in Cuba in the same year; but some years later, the intentional introduction of this pathogenic strain of ASF virus was demonstrated.
Between 1975 and 1979, there was a gradual transfer of the staff to those already concluded facilities, becoming an essential practice the simultaneous participation in the construction works of the center and in the laboratories to fulfill the research, service, and teaching plans.
CENSA was inaugurated by the Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz on September 1st, 1980, in a rally for the start of the school year 1980-1981.
…today we can dream about the day on which an institution like this one may exist, but devoted to plant health…
CENSA’s first director was Dr. Rosa Elena Simeon Negrín, who served as such from CNIC. Her work made an outstanding contribution to the development of this center, following Fidel´s scientific thought.
CENSA has a total area of 69.79 ha, from which 23.43 ha are occupied by facilities and 46.36 ha are gardens and areas cultivated with crops for self-consumption.
In June 1981, the Commander in Chief, in a visit to the center, confirmed its initial objectives and added new missions concerning plant health, specifically the diagnosis of exotic and quarantine plant diseases. Similarly, in 1991, a new goal was included: the production and marketing of biopharmaceuticals.
In the 20th anniversary of the center, Dr. Rosa Elena Simeon, as the minister of the Science, Technology and Environment Ministry (CITMA), and the minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, the Army General Raul Castro Ruz, visited CENSA.
At present, CENSA is an entity for Science and Technological Innovation (ECIT), which belongs to the Ministry of Higher Education (MES). It has implemented a Research-Development-Innovation System in order to identify, prioritize and plan the scientific research in accordance with the requirements and problems of the country in the field of plant and livestock health.
After four decades of being founded, CENSA’s staff works with the first day enthusiasm, devotion and dedication to science, forever trusting in the Revolution and being sure that, with our efforts, we contribute to reach a better world.