Published Date : Nov 26, 2015
Cuba’s health care system has blossomed despite the decades of trade embargo by the US. This has resulted in a record of major health care metrics that can be compared not only with other nations falling in the same per capita income category, but also with the United States.
Cuba has also recorded impressive advances in biotechnology, particularly in pediatric vaccines. With Cuba-US ties improving, there is a chance for an increasing number of Cuban doctors to migrate to the States over the next few years. Large numbers of Cuban nurses and doctors already work in foreign countries, ushering in beneficial remittances.
Patricia Danzon, professor of health care management at Wharton, recently returned from Cuba after studying the health care system there. Danzon found that the health care record in the country is remarkable, especially with respect to wealth indicators such as per capita income, which is almost at par with nations like China. She said that Cuba has performed increasingly well when it comes to life expectancy and infant mortality and the country is comparable to the United States on those metrics.
According to Danzon, the progress in Cuba’s health care can be attributed to its commitment to make health and education a priority during the 1959 Cuban Revolution. She said that Cuba has most certainly delivered on those commitments and today, health care is universally available to everybody free of cost.
Cuba has also been a large supplier of nurses and doctors to other parts of the world. This, Danzon said, is similar to exports even though some of it falls under international aid. Part of the payments received by Cuban doctors for their services abroad brings in remittances. This, Danzon added, is a way of doing some form of trade that is not hampered or restricted by the US embargo.