viernes, febrero 09, 2007

About Health Statistics in Cuba.

Can anyone believe any “statistic" prepared by the Castro regime?
The one health statistic Cuba gives the most publicity to -- and appears to spend the most resources on -- is its infant mortality rate. On Jan. 3, the official Communist Party newspaper Gramna boasted the country had reduced its infant mortality rate in 2006 to 5.3 per 1,000 live births, considerably below the U.S. rate of 6.0, from 2004, and leading all of Latin America. Granma noted that infant mortality was "such an important indicator, considered internationally a reflection of the state of health of the population.''
Cuba had managed to assemble this complicated statistic just two days after the year ended, with detailed figures for all major municipalities. The United States by contrast needs two years to assemble all the information to make sure its mortality figures are accurate, says Mary Jones of the National Center for Health Statistics.
Keeping infant mortality low can certainly improve a country's overall life expectancy and at a cost much cheaper than paying for the elderly to have lengthy intensive care stays in their last weeks of life. But the issue is how Cuba goes about keeping its death rate among infants down.
Some doctors say they were told to use any means possible to keep the infant mortality rate low.
Jesús Monzón, an Obstetrician-gynecologist in Pinar del Río until he left in 1995, says pregnant mothers were required to appear monthly for sonograms and other tests to make certain the fetus was healthy. ''If there was any malformation in the fetus, they would interrupt the pregnancy,'' said Monzón, now a lab technician at Mercy Hospital in Miami.
A heart murmur or other serious problems required an abortion. This was ''automatic,'' he said. If the mother objected, a team from the hospital would persuade her an abortion was necessary.
Other sources also say abortion is a tool used to keep infant mortality low, including Andy Gomez at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami, and Carmelo Mesa-Lago, a retired University of Pittsburgh economics professor who has spent decades studying Cuba.
Recent Cuba abortion data is not available, but a study by the Pan American Health Organization from 1998 states Cuba had 70 abortions per 100 deliveries in 1992 and 59.4 in 1996, far higher than the 34 to 38 abortions per 100 live births reported during that time in the United States. Néstor Viamonte, a primary-care doctor in Ciego de Avila until 2003, says all Cuban doctors are told to focus on babies. Infants under 1 and those with serious chronic diseases were the only ones who could get in to see a doctor without waiting days for an appointment. Mothers were required to bring in their babies monthly for examinations. Babies who died in the first month were reported to have died before birth to keep the numbers low, Viamonte said.
Source: The Real Cuba.