Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Keeping Cuba Healthy

A rather timely story on BBC2's Newsnight last night regarding healthcare in Cuba, which despite being one of the poorest countries in the world and crippled by US initiated trade sanctions, has one of the highest standard and most effective health systems going. And it's all for free.

All eleven million Cubans have a local doctor and nurse per every six hundred head of population, twenty four hour dental care, and they train doctors from many different countries, including good old Uncle Sam.

One thing that seems to differentiate the revolutionary state's medical service from most others is it's focus on prevention, rather than cure. This is partly due to the fact that trade embargoes severely restrict the import of essential medicines and equipment, etc.

On the positive side of the trade embargo, there's no junk food or McDiets, and you'll more than likely see kids playing outside rather than slothed in front of an X-Box.

As far as hard and fast statistics go, the CIA factbook itself notes that live birthrates are higher in Cuba than the US, and life expectancy is neck and neck. Though expect that second stat to plummet should the US try and institute some "regime change"

Here's hoping Fidel pulls through his current illness and outlasts (at least) one more US President.

You can watch John Harris' report on the BBC site here. It's only twelve minutes long and streaming quality is quick and very good.

Hasta la victoria siempre!

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