Sunday, May 21, 2006

After God Comes Cuban Doctors


Cuban doctors wait to be dispatched to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.

People often ask why I spend so much time and effort supporting Cuba. The answer is simple: under socialism they are able to help people, to act selflessly in the service of humanity. Under capitalism there is no way or incentive for doctors, no matter how good intentioned, to get organized to help those most in need (ie. those without money). While in Cuba, an abundance of highly skilled and motivated professionals is helped by a government to do what everyone wants to do = help those less fortunate.

There are currently more than 25,000 Cuban doctors helping people in the 3rd world. That is the equivalent of 500,000 American doctors working abroad. But we only have 800,000 doctors - a shortage that is growing worse every day (experts predict a gap of 200,000 needed doctors in 10 years). But even if we had the doctors, our government does nothing to help them get abroad (or enough to get them to inner cities and remote rural areas). But:

In Haiti, where President Rene Preval has turned to Cuba and Venezuela for help, Cuban doctors have held more than 8 million office visits and done more than 100,000 operations. 120 Haitian doctors have graduated from medical school in Cuba, with 600 more future doctors currently in school. It is Preval who recently said in Havana, "In Haiti, we say after God comes Cuban doctors.” Meanwhile,Prevall has officially jointedPetroCaribee - the Venezuelan led (cheaper) oil distribution system. Haiti's previous (right wing) had avoided the cheaper oil despite the fact that most towns are without electricity because they can't afford to power their generators...

In Pakistan, Cuban doctors flooded the northernmountainouss region where an earthquake had killed 75,000 people. Recently in a meeting with the Doctors, the Pakistani foreign minister recalled how after the earthquake, a second wave of deaths caused by epidemics and the arrival of winter had been feared but was prevented – he pointed out — by international help, especially that provided by the Cuban medical brigade. 1.7 million patients were treated by Cuban doctors The minister thanked the Cuban government’s gesture of donating all the rehabilitation equipment used by the physical therapist.

In Bolivia, 180 new clinics offering quality medical care to all, staffed largely by Cuban volunteer doctors, and a nascent government-sponsored literacy program with aid from Cuba and Venezuela, are gaining popularity among Bolivia’s working people. 687 lives were saved and eyesight has been restored to 7,613 Bolivians in Bolivia and Cuba, at absolutely no cost. Meanwhile 5,000 scholarships to Bolivian doctors to study in Cuba are being provided. Havana is also providing reading materials and 30,000 television sets. The goal is to teach 720,000 Bolivians to read and write in two years.Though the US offers official development assistance to Bolivia, a May 14th NYTimes article's headline read “U.S. Aid Can’t Win Bolivia’s Love as New Suitors Emerge” (referring to the Cubans).

In Honduras, where Cuban doctors arrived after the devastating Hurricane Mitch in 1999, huge improvements are being seen. Before the Cubans arrived. the infant mortality rate was 30.8 per 1,000 live births and the maternal death rate 48.1 per 10,000 live births. With the arrival of the Cuban doctors in the country these indices have been reduced to 10.1 and 22.4 respectively, in the areas where they are working.

10 Comments:

Blogger Mark D. Glesne said...

Presented without commentary:

SANTA CLARA, September 16 (Diolexis Rodr?ez Hurtado, CubanacᮠPress / www.cubanet.org) - Patients at the AIDS sanatorium in Santa Clara complain that due to a shortage of physicians they are not getting appropriate care.
The shortage, they say, has been more acute in the past few weeks after a number of doctors were sent off to Venezuela to participate in the agreement between the Cuban and Venezuelan governments.

In addition, patients say other doctors have requested transfers away from the sanatorium due to the poor sanitary and working conditions there.

Patients quote doctors as saying there are few safeguards against acquiring the disease.

- - - - - -

HAVANA, August 24 (AdriᮠLeiva, Grupo Decoro / www.cubanet.org) - Most medical dispensaries in the area served by the Antonio Maceo polyclinic in El Cerro are closed or operate only a few hours a week due to the shortage of doctors.
Observers attributed the shortage to the recent mass shipment of as many as 10,000 Cuban physicians to Venezuela, now compounded by the traditional summer vacation period.

The Antonio Maceo polyclinic serves an area where approximately 15,000 people live. The areas known as Palatino, Casino Deportivo, Mart?and Santa Catalina, are included in its service area.

The available doctors are reportedly rotating between dispensaries, managing to keep them open four hours a week.

- - - - - -

HAVANA, June 24 (Mois鳠Leonardo Rodr?ez, Grupo Decoro / www.cubanet.org) - Residents of Madruga say they are disgusted by the insufficient level of medical services offered the population lately by the local polyclinic.
Among the reasons for the lack of services that previously were widely available they cite the scarcity of resources and the wholesale shipment of doctors and other medical personnel to Venezuela and several other countries. Even the doctors left behind are overworked as a result of the government's policy.

As a specific example, residents say the polyclinic in Madruga has not rendered optometry services for about two months now, allegedly because their equipment is broken. The problem has been a constant off and on for most of the last year.

During the last year, residents say they were able to make do in neighboring G? but that option is no longer viable because the technician there was mobilized for military service.

- - - - - -

HAVAVA, June 2 (Mar?L󰥺, Lux Info Press / www.cubanet.org) - Officials at the Eusebio D? maternity hospital in the Havana municipality of Marianao closed a ward for lack of nurses.
Recent nursing graduates can look forward to frequent shifts of 18- to 24-hour days, without the necessary facilities, for a salary of 148 pesos a month during the first two years, 171 for the next two, and a maximum salary of 190 pesos, or less than 8 dollars.

Nurse Ana Corea said: "In the Aball?ediatric hospital, there are several wards closed for lack of nurses. We leave because we have to do other things if we want to eat."

- - - - - -

HAVANA, April 6 (Anna Rosa Veit?/ Cubanet) - An increasing number of cases of pneumonia have been reported in Havana during March and April, mostly among children.
Fabio Lloren's mother said she had to scrounge among friends and family for
56 US dollars in order to buy prescribed medicine, since it wasn't available in the peso pharmacies.

She said: "The doctor at the pediatric center simply waved her hand and said, 'That can be cured over there,' meaning the United States. After I procured the medicine, Fabio, 14, looks better but is still very weak."

D颯ra Salazar said: "I took my four-year-old to the hospital in Marianao, and they admitted him, but only to give him intravenous dextrose until the medicine can be obtained."

Several children between the ages of four and 15 were admitted to hospitals in central Havana, Marianao, and El Cerro areas of the city, after being diagnosed with pneumonia.

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I can go on and on...

10:09 AM  
Blogger leftside said...

Mark, these stories are all from Cubanet. Do you know that is funded by our Government (how much is now a state secret)?

This website is well known to procure certain kinds of "stories" (I use that term lightly) depending on the needs of their masters (Miami hard liners and our Government) at a particular time.

Read what one Cubanet "jounralist" wrote about her handler: Rosa Berre, who invented Cubanet, recorded the news that I dictated. She had the phone in the kitchen of her apartment in the southwest (Miami). She received the news while she was cooking and then transmitted it. One day she told me that she was moving into the heart of Miami, because she had been bought two apartments...

Don't all the articles seem kinda similar to you? They are all one person compaining, without specifics, then infers the problem is related to the volunteer doctrors going abroad (though even the propogandist author has to admit other factors are usually at work).

Experts know that Cuba still has more than enough Doctors covering all areas of the country. The rate of doctors per person is still the highest in the region. The isolated compaints, if legitimate at all, can be explained by a "spoiled" population used to seeing doctors any time of day or night, in every neighborhood.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Mark D. Glesne said...

... yet you trust your (and Pam's) health care to the American health system. Hypocrisy Matthew, hypocrisy.

And of course any medium with US money behind it is distorted and untrue. But any medium with Cuban money behind it is honest, unbiased and objective. Uh huh.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Mark D. Glesne said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Mark D. Glesne said...

Actions will always speak louder than words Matthew. Until you cease living the life of a capitalist, no one will ever take you seriously as a socialist.

1:06 PM  
Blogger leftside said...

My health care is shit. I'vr had to pay $500 in the last month for a doctor and 2 dentist visits... then they try to sell me other stuff I don't need. 3 months ago I tried getting my back fixed that I hurt at work and the 'therapy' machines were 40 years old at least. A doctor didn't actually touch my back for 3 visits...

Not every US funded thing is distorted propoganda. Voice of America has been ok lately. But Radio Marti and Cubanet have one purpose = regime change.

I don't trust every Cuban media report, but they are not that bad actually. I've never caught a lie. I do believe the Cuban source(s) who spent a few years undercover working with Cubanet and the US Interests Section (as part of the case against the '75 dissidents'). Their reports with details about everything are online and backed by plenty of evidence.

I would turn around your argument about living where you beliefs are held, but your lucky enough to already live in a place that exalts Christianity, militarism and the free market.

1:06 AM  
Blogger Mark D. Glesne said...

Lucky for me. =)

However, should I find a country which I believe to have greater values, a greater political framework, a greater constitution, a greater culture, and/or a greater place in the world ... I'll uproot and move.

This I swear to you.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Mark D. Glesne said...

Here's a question Matthew, who do you obtain your current "sh*t" health care from?

8:53 AM  
Blogger leftside said...

Kaiser Permanente... (??)

8:47 PM  
Blogger Mark D. Glesne said...

Okay, next question: Is your health care plan through your job - or completely private and on your own?

12:44 PM  

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