Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Cuban health system

You know, the Cuban health system is one of the great “achievements” of Fidel Castro’s revolution. Or so we are told. All the time.

Occasionally, however, we hear conflicting views about the state of Cuban medical facilities from people who appear to have no axe to grind.

Take the group of visiting Spanish students who were involved in a serious road accident last weekend near Varadero.

Ten of the students had to be admitted to hospitals in Matanzas province as a result of the accident, with five later transferred to hospitals in Havana because of the seriousness of their injuries.

On their return to Madrid yesterday, some of the students who had been discharged were interviewed by the Spanish newsagency Efe.

The students were full of praise for the medical staff but not so convinced by the facilities – at least in Matanzas.

One of the students interviewed, identified only as Alberto, said the local hospitals they had been sent to were “in very bad shape” and that the students had to take their own linen, towels and medications.

A second student, Raquel, described the conditions as “a disaster” and likened the local hospitals to “hospitals in Rwanda”, lacking even basic sterilisation equipment.

Don’t forget: these are ordinary local hospitals that are used daily by ordinary Cubans, rather than tourists.

You can read about it here, in Spanish.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

sure conditions are bad, but i bet they are better than in hospitals in rural parts of Mexico or DR or Jamica.., etc. . Probably better in Cuba than in rural Nigaraugua.
I am not "apologizing" for Castro, but rather simply suggesting that cuba must be compared in developing world context.

I for one do not think its accurate to analyze cuba through American (or in your case Austrialian eyes). You must place Cuba in the context of the third world -- as a peripherial small island country (with limited natural resources - compared to Russia for example).

Consequently, comparing what the hygene state is in a hospital in Cuba to what a hospital might look like in Spain means nothing to me. It would mean nothing in a real debate either.

Give us a good comparison between Cuba and a COMPARABLE country and then we can discuss. Dom. Repu? Hati? Barbados? rural Mexico? Nigaruagua? Again, I am sure cuba is behind such countries in many aspects, but probably ahead in other aspects. This explains why many Cubans that live in la isla are easily brainwashed into accepting the system -- they see the world through third world mentality, something exiles seem to have forgotten...

3:23 pm  
Blogger Luis M Garcia said...

Dear Anonymous,

I think you are right in saying that hospital conditions in Cuba are probably better than in other Third World countries. No argument there.

However, an important consideration is that hospital conditions in Cuba have ALWAYS been better than in many other Third World countries - long before Fidel Castro.

In fact, in the late 1950s, health outcomes in Cuba - infant mortality rates, life expcetancy, etc - were ahead of health outcomes in many Western European nations, including Spain and Italy.

This is not to say that Cuba was perfect before Castro. Far from it. But what Castro and his apologists never acknowledge is that his regime started from a relatively high base - and in relation to say, Spain and Italy, the country has actually gone backwards.

4:52 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell me something Fernandez


1:25 am  

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