The Secret of Cuba's Healthcare System Success
In Cuba, technology and Internet connections are sometimes difficult to get, but there is one thing that citizens of the island don't need to be much worried about to find: doctors.
Cuba’s population of 11.27 million has 452 out-patient clinics and the government gives priority to disease prevention, universal coverage and access to treatment.The country has well-trained, capable doctors, and the sector is even able to export doctors to developing countries with deficient medical care systems, like Venezuela or Nepal.
However, despite these impressive statistics, the real picture is less rosy, reported this weekend in Spanish newspaper El País. A lot of health infrastructure is deteriorating and there is a de facto two-tier system that favors those with money.
On the one hand, Cuba’s healthcare system is the existence of special clinics, reserved for tourists, politicians and VIPs. The state reserves the best hospitals and doctors for the national elite and foreigners, while ordinary Cubans sometimes must turn to the black market or ask expatriate friends or family to send medicines.
Also, the quality of primary healthcare, which has been fundamental to Cuba’s success, has been declining in recent years. Between 2009 and 2014 there was a 62% fall in the number of family doctors, from 34,261 to 12,842, according to Cuba’s National Statistics Office (ONEI).
Cuban doctors complain as well that travel restrictions prevent them from attending conferences or keeping abreast of the latest medical advances. The US trade embargo on Cuba includes some textbooks, but the major problem is that Cuban doctors cannot buy medical equipment from the United States or from any US subsidiaries.
As reported this weekend in Spanish newspaper El País (In English)