Monday, June 26, 2006

Cuba's medical apartheid system

If you are a Cuban-American you have probably at one time or another sent a package or two to your family in Cuba. You most likely paid at least $15 per pound to send a package containing simple over the counter medicines; aspirin, vitamins, ointments, pharmaceuticals that are liberaly available in most remote areas of the globe, but not in Cuba. Here is an article published in a Norwegian website that gives an insite as to why you are the one providing those medications and not the Cuban regime.

Cuban Medicine Today

by Dr. Hilda Molina, a former member the Cuban National Assembly, is one of Cuba's most distinguished scientists. She broke with the government on the issue of medical apartheid, the denial of medical care or medicine to Cubans while the same services are provided to dollar-paying foreign patients. In this report, smuggled out of the island, she says that she "opposed the use of Cuban patients as laboratory animals." Dr. Molina is founder of Havana's International Center for Neurological Restoration. She is a virtual hostage on the island, and despite repeated requests, she and her elderly mother have not been permitted to travel abroad.

Since I joined the health sector in 1968, the Cuban government has repeatedly asserted that "a central objective of the Revolution is the entitlement of free, quality medical care for everyone." The government systematically rejected the use of medicine as a means of making money. In 1989, Fidel Castro told me that he was "roundly opposed to charging for medical services," and that he "would even prefer that such services be given free of charge to foreigners who need them."

But, beginning in 1989, 1 began to notice an unfortunate change of attitude. Cuban authorities have established mechanisms designed to turn the medical system into a profit-making enterprise for the government. I witnessed this firsthand at the International Center for Neurological Restoration, which I directed from 1990-1994.
You can read this rather lenthly but highly scathing report of Cuba's medical apartheid system by clicking [here].

H/T: Interested Participant

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