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Response to elleng (Original post)

Mon Nov 28, 2016, 07:57 AM

18. Cuba Leads the World in Lowest Patient per Doctor Ratio; How do they do it?

Cuba Leads the World in Lowest Patient per Doctor Ratio; How do they do it?

July 30th, 2012 by joannamae
by Joanna Mae Souers



*Paraguayan 5th year student participating in primary care in Havana, Cuba. (2011,by Joanna Mae Souers)


In early 2007, I began studying medicine at the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana, Cuba. I entered the program not knowing much about the Cuban healthcare system, other than that it was universal and free. “Now that’s a system I want to learn from,” I thought to myself, “It’s a system we could all learn from.” Five years later, what have I learned?

There are many subtle and not so subtle differences between the Cuban and the U.S. health care systems which have allowed the Cubans to equal the U.S. with respect to their health statistics, but at a much lower cost and with better preventative and primary care. In this paper I analyze just one of the reasons for the differences between the two systems; Cuba produces more primary care practitioners per capita. How do they do it? Medical education in Cuba is free, all doctors interested in specializing must first serve two years working in primary care, and graduating doctors are not driven to specialize by salary incentives. This socialist approach towards medicine and medical education assures the human resources necessary to provide universal and preventative healthcare to all.

People marvel at how Cuba has “accomplished so much with so little.” And they marvel with good reason. According to the World Health Organization, Cuba spent only $503 per capita on healthcare in 2009, the U.S. spent almost 15 times that sum. In fact we in the US spent $421 per person just on the administration of the private healthcare insurance system, almost enough to fund the Cuban system. [1] [2] Despite dramatically lower costs, Cuba has some of the best health statistics and health indicators of any country around the world.

Although people like to compare and contrast the health statistics of the U.S. and Cuba, I think this a bit preposterous. Cuba, a small island in the Caribbean, is being compared to one of the largest countries in the Americas with a very different history. So in the table below, I have shown some health statistics on Cuba and the U.S. as well as the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The Dominican Republic and Haiti are Cuba’s Caribbean neighbors; similar in size, history and geographic location.

More:
http://www.socialmedicine.org/2012/07/30/about/cuba-leads-the-world-in-lowest-patient-per-doctor-ratio-how-do-they-do-it/

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July 25, 2014
Socialist Cuba Exports Health Care, Gains Important Recognition

by W. T. Whitney

In Cuba recently press conferences and new reports celebrated the ten-year anniversary of Operation Miracle, known also as “Mision Miracle,” which occurred on July 8. This internationalized project aimed at restoring vision on a massive scale took shape within the context of ALBA, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America.

Cuba and Venezuela launched ALBA in late 2004. Latin American and Caribbean nations belonging to ALBA engage in mutually beneficial trade-offs of educational and medical services, scientific projects, even commodities. They are referred to as solidarity exchanges. ALBA exemplifies Cuba and Venezuela’s central role in promoting regional integration.

Under Operation Miracle, Cubans and Venezuelans benefit from surgical eye care, as do tens of thousands of foreign nationals who’ve traveled to Cuba for treatment. Cuban ophthalmologists serving in Venezuela took the lead in establishing 26 eye care centers throughout that national territory. Staff consisting of eye surgeons, nurses, technicians, and other physicians have served Venezuelans and also vision- impaired people from 17 Latin American countries plus Italy, Portugal, and Puerto Rico. More recently organizers established centers in 14 Latin American and Caribbean nations. Ten years after its start the project operates in 31 countries, some in Africa and Asia.

Those receiving diagnosis and treatment through Operation Miracle had gone without eye care because of poverty and/or geographic inaccessibility. The most common cause of reduced vision the teams deal with is cataract. They provide treatment also for glaucoma, strabismus, retina problems, and abnormal ocular growths. Corrective lenses are provided. Services are available for patients at no personal cost, as are transportation and accommodations.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/25/socialist-cuba-exports-health-care-gains-important-recognition/

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Cuba’s extraordinary global medical record shames the US blockade

Seumas Milne

Wednesday 3 December 2014 15.07 EST
Last modified on Friday 11 November 2016 08.46 EST

Four months into the internationally declared Ebola emergency that has devastated west Africa, Cuba leads the world in direct medical support to fight the epidemic. The US and Britain have sent thousands of troops and, along with other countries, promised aid – most of which has yet to materialise. But, as the World Health Organisation has insisted, what’s most urgently needed are health workers. The Caribbean island, with a population of just 11m and official per capita income of $6,000 (£3,824), answered that call before it was made. It was first on the Ebola frontline and has sent the largest contingent of doctors and nurses – 256 are already in the field, with another 200 volunteers on their way.

While western media interest has faded with the receding threat of global infection, hundreds of British health service workers have volunteered to join them. The first 30 arrived in Sierra Leone last week, while troops have been building clinics. But the Cuban doctors have been on the ground in force since October and are there for the long haul.

The need could not be greater. More than 6,000 people have already died. So shaming has the Cuban operation been that British and US politicians have felt obliged to offer congratulations. John Kerry described the contribution of the state the US has been trying to overthrow for half a century “impressive”. The first Cuban doctor to contract Ebola has been treated by British medics, and US officials promised they would “collaborate” with Cuba to fight Ebola.

But it’s not the first time that Cuba has provided the lion’s share of medical relief following a humanitarian disaster. Four years ago, after the devastating earthquake in impoverished Haiti, Cuba sent the largest medical contingent and cared for 40% of the victims. In the aftermath of the Kashmir earthquake of 2005, Cuba sent 2,400 medical workers to Pakistan and treated more than 70% of those affected; they also left behind 32 field hospitals and donated a thousand medical scholarships.

More:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/03/cuba-global-medical-record-shames-us-blockade-ebola

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How Cuba Mobilises To Defeat Public Health Emergencies
By Don Fitz
February 13, 2012

“I’m on pesquizaje”, my daughter Rebecca told me. “All of the third, fourth and fifth year medical students at Allende have our classes suspended. We are going door-to-door looking for symptoms of dengue fever and checking for standing water.”[1]

As a fourth year medical student at Cuba’s ELAM (Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina, Latin American School of Medicine in Havana), she is assigned to Salvadore Allende Hospital in Havana. It handles most of the city’s dengue cases. Although she has done health canvassing before, this is the first time she has had classes cancelled to do it. It is very unusual for an outbreak of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne illness, to occur this late in the season. She remembers most outbreaks happening in autumn, being over before December, and certainly not going into January–February.

Groups of medical students are assigned to a block with about 135 homes, most having two to seven residents. They try to check on every home daily, but don’t see many working families until the weekend. The first sign of dengue they look for is fever. The medical students also check for joint pain, muscle pain, abdominal pain, headache behind the eye sockets, purple splotches and bleeding from the gums.

What is unique about Cuban medical school is the way ELAM students are trained to make in-home evaluations that include potentially damaging lifestyles — such as having uncovered standing water where mosquitoes can breed.

More:
https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/how-cuba-mobilises-to-defeat-public-health-emergencies-by-don-fitz/

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Why Does Health Care in Cuba Cost 96% Less than in the US?

January 6, 2011 Don Fitz

When Americans spend $100 on health care, is it possible that only $4 goes to keeping them well and $96 goes somewhere else? Single payer health care advocates compare American health care to that in Western Europe or Canada and come up with figures of 20–30% waste in the US.

When Americans spend $100 on health care, is it possible that only $4 goes to keeping them well and $96 goes somewhere else? Single payer health care advocates compare American health care to that in Western Europe or Canada and come up with figures of 20–30% waste in the US.

But there is one country with very low level of economic activity yet with a level of health care equal to the West: Cuba.

Life expectancy of about 78 years of age in Cuba is equivalent to the US. Yet, in 2005, Cuba was spending $193 per person on health care, only 4% of the $4540 being spent in the US. Where could the other 96% of US health care dollars be going?

More:
http://upsidedownworld.org/archives/cuba/why-does-health-care-in-cuba-cost-96-less-than-in-the-us/

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Cuba Is Good for Your Health

By davidswanson - Posted on 11 February 2015

"It's behind us," Fernando Gonzales of the Cuban Five said with a smile when I told him just a few moments ago that I was sorry for the U.S. government having locked him in a cage for 15 years. It was nice of the New York Times to editorialize in favor of negotiations to release the remaining three, he said, especially since that paper had never reported on the story at all.

Gonzales said there is no ground for the United States keeping Cuba on its terrorist list. That there are Basques in Cuba is through an agreement with Spain, he said. The idea that Cuba is fighting wars in Central America is false, he added, noting that Colombian peace talks are underway here in Havana. "The President of the United States knows this," Gonzales said, "which is why he asked for the list to be reviewed."

Medea Benjamin recalled coming to Cuba back in an age when the United States was apparently trying to kill not only Cubans but also tourists who dared to come to Cuba. This, she said, is what the Cuban Five were trying to stop. So we're glad, she told Gonzales, that we can come here now without worrying about Obama putting a bomb in the lobby. A crazy worry? It wasn't always.

Earlier today we visited the Latin American School of Medicine, which is now misnamed as it educates doctors from all over the world, not just Latin America. It began in 1998 by converting a former navy school into a medical school at which to give free education to students from Central America. From 2005 to 2014, the school has seen 24,486 students graduate.

More:
http://warisacrime.org/content/cuba-good-your-health

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Cuba's Cure

Why is Cuba exporting its health care miracle to the world's poor?

Sarah van Gelder posted May 11, 2007

Cubans say they offer health care to the world's poor because they have big hearts. But what do they get in return?

They live longer than almost anyone in Latin America. Far fewer babies die. Almost everyone has been vaccinated, and such scourges of the poor as parasites, TB, malaria, even HIV/AIDS are rare or non-existent. Anyone can see a doctor, at low cost, right in the neighborhood.

The Cuban health care system is producing a population that is as healthy as those of the world's wealthiest countries at a fraction of the cost. And now Cuba has begun exporting its system to under-served communities around the world—including the United States.

The story of Cuba's health care ambitions is largely hidden from the people of the United States, where politics left over from the Cold War maintain an embargo on information and understanding. But it is increasingly well-known in the poorest communities of Latin America, the Caribbean, and parts of Africa where Cuban and Cuban-trained doctors are practicing.

More:
http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/latin-america-rising/cubas-cure

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