Cuba’s Healthcare system stands out as exceptional


A group of more than 70 people from various corners of US visited Laboratories Pharmaceutics Orient in the city of Santiago de Cuba, the main city of Cuba’s east on 27 December 2022. They noted that the Scientists in the Cuban laboratory have developed three vaccines that are 92.83% effective in preventing death and treating many severe symptoms of Covid-19. They have also developed three boosters that are compatible with the messenger RNA vaccines from drug-multinationals like Pfizer and Moderna. Cuba was the first country to develop a vaccine for children from 3-11 years old. Despite the ravages caused to the economy by the sixty-year-old US blockade, the Cuban health care system is in finer fettle than many other affluent countries including the US. The blockade by imperialist countries had caused shortages of saline solutions necessary for intravenous (IV) drips for dehydrated patients and the delivery of drugs. To meet this requirement, Cuba has now developed their own saline solutions, which have saved lives all over the world. Cuba’s—Abdala and Soberana vaccines against Covid-19 have proven to be safe with very few side effects. And they have proven more effective against the omicron variant of the pandemic than vaccines given in other countries.
Important aspect is that these vaccines can easily be exported because they are stable at temperatures above 30 degree C (86 F). Eight countries are already using them, and others are in the process of evaluating them. Cuba has developed IV solutions and equipment that make it possible for people to administer their own intravenous treatment at home. Cuba which still holds on to its socialist structure amidst many twists and turns, has a rich history of developing vaccines and medicines for diseases like dengue, yellow fever, malaria, and other respiratory ailments. Cuban laboratory authorities have said that because of the blockade, Cuban scientists have taken upon themselves the task of developing various types of medicines and other medical accessories indigenously with the help of some medical supplies from Mexico, China, and Italy. They also recall with respect how late Fidel Castro, the architect of Cuban revolution, had encouraged the development of a biotech, pharmaceutical industry that trained scientifically skilled doctors and researchers. This infrastructure allows Cuba to produce many of its own medical supplies. Cuban scientists have produced products for haemodialysis for kidney failure. Cubans 100 miles away can receive regular free transportation to kidney centres. What would cost a person $200 in the U.S. is free for Cubans. In fact, entire healthcare under the aegis of the government is free in that country even while all Cubans must struggle with the blockade. There is no private hospital in Cuba. Medical care is a constitution-guaranteed fundamental right of Cuban citizens. Cuba’s socialist regime has been able to sustain a medical system that guarantees free and comprehensive health care. There are at least eight doctors for every 1,000 citizens-the highest ratio in the world. No country, including the U.S., can boast of such numbers. India, for example, has one doctor for every 10,000 citizens. Cuba’s medical system prioritizes nurses’ rights as workers and guarantees free health care for all Cubans. Normally, one nurse to four patients was standard in Cuba. Cuba has sent 53 brigades to other countries and has over 28,000 Cuban health care professionals residing in 58 nations during Covid 19 period.
Pertinent to mention that a team of 53 Cuban specialists trained in epidemiology was first to reach the Lombardy region, the epicentre of the epidemic in Italy, at the height of the pandemic to provide invaluable support to Italy’s beleaguered medical infrastructure. A team of 39 Cuban medical professionals were also dispatched to the tiny principality of Andorra, wedged between France and Spain, whose doctors were all down with suspected Covid-19. It was first to send brigades of doctors and supplies to Venezuela, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Suriname, and Grenada. Cuba had 28,268 members of medical brigades working in 61 countries around the world, according to the director of the Central Unit for Medical Collaboration. The Cuban Government also gave permission for the British cruise ship— the MS Braemar with five confirmed cases of COVID-19 and dozens of symptomatic travellers on board—to dock in the harbour at Mariel, west of Havana, on March 18. Cuba then treated those affected by the virus and arranged passage to home for the rest of the passengers. Delivering his final speech in British parliament as the leader of the opposition, the Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, could not but praise the internationalism of the Cuban doctors as ‘‘inspirational’’.
Although US imperialist regime has been trying utmost to dislodge socialism in Cuba, Cuban doctors make no distinction between US citizens and Cuban citizens in so far as providing necessary medical care is concerned. It still offers vaccines to some of the US citizens at low prices. Pertinent to recall that after demolition of Twin Tower building in New York, a good number of distress-stricken impoverished US citizens managed to enter Cuba and receive necessary treatment which was denied to them in US because of their financial incapability to afford steep premium for medical insurance.
This shows the success and achievement of the socialist country that it cares not only for the health of the people in their own country but for the people around the world despite being under blockade by US imperialists.
(Acknowledgment—Frontline 24-04-20, Workers’ World 21-01-23)

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