Despite economic hardships and political tensions, the Cuban health system continues to perform better than many other countries. Cuban people are among the healthiest in the world. Their emphasis on primary care, prevention, and community service has allowed them to ascend in ranking.
Cuban health care system demonstrates that high-quality health care does not just depend on substantial funding, in addition, it requires adequate policy-making. They manage to accomplish a lot with a little. While enduring economic difficulties Cuba still manages to provide national health insurance and service delivery system to all its citizens. Something that many other countries fail to provide for their citizens.
Cuba has a national health system, similar to the United Kingdom and Scotland. Meaning there is a single government-funded health system. They strive to provide equal opportunities to receive quality health services by ensuring free health coverage for all. This system indeed improves the health of the population and enhances the quality of service. This should be an inspiration for other nations to emulate.
By having a strong public health system, the country promotes well-being and security of an entire population. Cuba has established a strong community-based health system. There is a nurse and doctor assigned to every 150 families in a community. This way every community has access to primary care. Community-based health has many benefits like disease prevention, managing illnesses, and improve patient health at a lower cost.
These teams of nurses & doctors live in the community they are assigned to, so they have a better understanding of the demographics and health issues. Aside from caring for the patients in the facilities, they also visit patients unannounced in their homes in the assigned communities. This also helps to gain a more precise understanding of the population they serve.
These primary care providers also assume the principal duties of public health employees. Cuba has a system that combines public health and primary care. Very often in other countries, these are separated. In this system, the clinical teams providing primary care to the community can also monitor and analyze their health data. Ideally providing a better surveillance system, encouraging health promotion, and provide quality care.
Although many other nations have larger health industries, more funding, and impressive technological advancements the health of their citizens still does not equate to Cuba’s. Compared to other surrounding countries Cuba is leading in life expectancy and low infant mortality rates. In 2019 they were among the lowest infant mortalities in Latin America. With the mortality rate of five per 1000 live births of infants under one. That brought them to rank among the world’s top 35 countries with the lowest infant mortality rates. This is about equal to the best rates found in European countries.
Cuba has also made great strides when it comes to immunization and sanitation services. They have had a great victory when it comes to the battle against infectious diseases like polio and malaria. Their vaccination rates are higher than most other regions in the world.
Cuba has shown remarkable results and set an exceptional example of a strong public health system during this pandemic. While many countries still suffer from tremendous losses due to the pandemic; Cuba was able to control the coronavirus. They still experience great economic devastation, because of shortage in revenue. The pandemic caused a stop in tourism and led to many job losses. Despite these hardships, they had a successful fight against the coronavirus.
With a population of 11.2 million people, Cuba has just over 35, 000 coronavirus cases and over 250 deaths. They reported no children or medical professionals died of the disease. Cuba’s strong public health system was able to quickly control the coronavirus, while other nations are still in crisis.
Medical tourism has additionally become a major entity in Cuba. Their top-quality hospitals, medical services, and affordable prices have attracted people from all over the world. This has generated a lot of revenue for the country. Over 20,000 people visit Cuba annually for health tourism.
Cuba also sends thousands of medical personnel overseas to aid other countries. Cuban doctors are active in over 60 countries today. They can support others while many are still providing exceptional medical services in the home country.
The Cuban Healthcare model is quite different from most ordinary health practices, but they still succeed in effectively managing the health of their citizens. Many of their efforts are inspirational and should be emulated by other countries for more progress. Cubans view healthcare as a fundamental right to all its citizens, they have a system that supports its people. Their efforts to provide health care to all their citizens, despite suffering from economic hardships, proves to be successful. Quality, accessible, affordable health care for all, with an emphasis on primary care and prevention all prove to be key for an efficacious health care system.
About the Author:
Jade Molly Antoine
Jade Molly Antoine is a health management candidate at the State University of New York at Cortland contributing opinion to CHD Group, India Country Office.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are the authors own. CHD Group takes no liability on behalf or for the contents expressed.