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Sun Dec 9, 2012, 11:45 AM

Why Is Cuba's Health Care System the Best Model for Poor Countries?

By Don Fitz

Source: Mr Zine

Sunday, December 09, 2012

The most revolutionary idea of the Cuban system is doctors living in the neighborhoods they serve. A doctor-nurse team are part of the community and know their patients well because they live at (or near) the consultorio (doctor's office) where they work. Consultorios are backed up by policlínicos which provide services during off-hours and offer a wide variety of specialists. Policlínicos coordinate community health delivery and link nationally-designed health initiatives with their local implementation.

Cubans call their system medicina general integral (MGI, comprehensive general medicine). Its programs focus on preventing people from getting diseases and treating them as rapidly as possible.

This has made Cuba extremely effective in control of everyday health issues. Having doctors' offices in every neighborhood has brought the Cuban infant mortality rate below that of the US and less than half that of US Blacks.3 Cuba has a record unmatched in dealing with chronic and infectious diseases with amazingly limited resources. These include (with date eradicated): polio (1962), malaria (1967), neonatal tetanus (1972), diphtheria (1979), congenital rubella syndrome (1989), post-mumps meningitis (1989), measles (1993), rubella (1995), and TB meningitis (1997).4

The MGI integration of neighborhood doctors' offices with area clinics and a national hospital system also means the country responds well to emergencies. It has the ability to evacuate entire cities during a hurricane largely because consultorio staff know everyone in their neighborhood and know who to call for help getting disabled residents out of harm's way. At the time when New York City (roughly the same population as Cuba) had 43,000 cases of AIDS, Cuba had 200 AIDS patients.5 More recent emergencies such as outbreaks of dengue fever are quickly followed by national mobilizations.6


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Reply Why Is Cuba's Health Care System the Best Model for Poor Countries? (Original post)
polly7 Dec 2012 OP
PDJane Dec 2012 #1

Response to polly7 (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 11:48 AM

1. It's a sensible model that relies little on machines and high-tech,

more on prevention. In places where such equipment is prohibitively expensive, it's a sane thing to do.

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