Friday, August 27, 2010

CastroCare In Crisis

So how's that universal Cuban health care working out?

Laurie Garrett discusses the current state of health care in Cuba in "Castrocare in Crisis". Here's an excerpt:
For years, Cuban hospital patients have needed to provide their own syringes, bed sheets, and towels. Some say they fear getting infections while visiting clinics because of shortages of soap, disinfectants, and sterile equipment.

A preventable form of cancer, cervical carcinoma, now ranks as the fourth leading cause of death for Cuban women. In most of the world, cervical cancer is on the decline thanks to annual gynecological screenings (with the Pap test) and the use of the human papillomavirus vaccine. In Cuba, however, the number of routine Pap tests performed has fallen by more than 30 percent and the number of diagnosed cervical cancer cases has doubled since 1985...

Cuba's doctors are increasingly strained. Physicians return from years abroad because they must, both contractually and to avoid repercussions for their relatives in Cuba. They then must accept whatever assignments the government gives them, including sometimes years of service in a remote village, a Havana slum, or a sparsely populated tobacco-growing area.

Many doctors and nurses leave the health-care system altogether, taking jobs as taxi drivers or in hotels, where they can earn CUCs. In February 2010, seven Cuban doctors sued the Cuban and Venezuelan governments, charging that the mandatory service they had performed in Venezuela in exchange for oil shipments to the Cuban government constituted "modern slavery" and "conditions of servilism for debt."
(Read the full text of "Castrocare in Crisis".)

Michael Moore must not have gotten the memo...