Contrary to what Michael Moore’s documentary, “Sicko,” would lead you to believe, Cuba’s health care system is far from perfect.
Although it has long been praised as one of the revolution successes, Cuba’s health care system works for foreigners but often fails its own citizens. That is the conclusion of an article titled “Re-examining the Cuban Health Care System” included in the latest edition of the online journal, “Cuban Affairs,” published by the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies.
The author, University of Oklahoma Professor Katherine Hirschfeld, spent nine months in the island living with a Cuban family and interviewing family doctors, medical specialists, social workers, nurses and patients as part of her research.
The article details the realities of the health system ”where the best clinics and hospitals only serve the political elites and foreigners and scarce medical supplies are often stolen from hospitals and sold on the black market.”
Through personal observations and interviews, Hirschfeld details the three levels of healthcare in Cuba. One for foreigners paying in hard currency; an excellent system with great equipment and medication. A second one for the military and high government and party officials. Again, this system is excellent. On the contrary, the one most Cubans deal with is poor; there is a shortage of equipment and medication; and now many of the physicians serving them are sent abroad for humanitarian purposes.
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Photo: Las Praderas, Hospital facilities in Havana, Cuba. (Health tourist)