HEALTH IN CUBA, THE TWO FACES OF A MYTH

ARACOA, CUBA- March 30, 2007 (Professor Julián Antonio Mone Borrego/Puenteinfocubamiami.org) - The general condition of hospitals that provide medical services strictly for the Cuban people are deplorable.

SANTA CLARA

Santa Clara's provincial Hospital has been invaded by a plague of cockroaches that contaminate utensils, foods and medical material.

The poor elaboration of foods, along with the unsanitary conditions heaped up the critical conditions of this hospital.

CIEGO DE ÁVILA

Hospitals "Antonio Luaces Iraola" and the "Hospital General Docente "Roberto Rodriguez", both located in the province of Ciego de Ávila, are lacking first aid medical tools, supplies and equipment such as anesthesia, needles, syringes and aerosol mouthpieces. Resulting in the delay of urgent surgical procedures and ultimately, forcing the suspension of all surgical procedures.

The waiting list for patients in need of medical procedures is endless. Improper protocol for sterilization of syringes and other hospital instruments along with the reuse of syringes and other medical tools without prior sterilization, expose hospital patients to contracting contagious diseases.

CAMAGÜEY

Provincial hospitals Manuel Artime Domenech, Amalia Simoni, and "Ana Betancourt" a maternal and neonatal hospital, in the province of Camagüey, lack the necessary resources for laboratory tests, including for Alpha-fetoprotein test, diabetes, thyroid and renal operation tests.

Irregularities and abuses against pregnant women pose serious mortal danger to mother and child during the pregnancy and during childbirth.

LAS TUNAS

In the provincial hospital "Ernesto Guevara" of Las Tunas, patients remain in a depressed and erosive atmosphere due to the prevailing poor health and unsanitary conditions of the health  installation. The ceiling's facility is filled with all kinds of animal's nests.

HOLGUÍN

There are frequent and prolonged power blackouts in the hospital Juan Paz Camejo, located in the municipality of Sagua de Tánamo, forcing patients and doctors to use petroleum lamps where fumes coming out of these devices cause breathing disorders to patients.

The above brief synthesis is just a sample of the daily deterioration of the health care facilities that cater only to ordinary Cubans.

Added to the above mentioned calamities is the lack of ambulances, the frustration of doctors and paramedic personnel whose demands for supplies is ignored by authorities in the health care system toppled by a huge amount of paperwork, long shifts, poor diet and low wages exacerbated the daily misery of the medical staff working in these facilities.

Let us distinguish the other face of the Cuban medical myth, revealed by Viñales Tours; one of many Cuban entities dedicated to the deliberate establishment of a kind of "medical apartheid" that consists of the creation of a health tourism industry and according to their promoters, the Cuban Health Care System is based on the principle that health care in Cuba is "a right of the people". They obviously forgot to clarify which kind of people they were referring to.

Upon the creation of this health tourism industry, the Cuban regime customized medical units exclusively for tourists in each of the hotels that are part of the above mentioned tourism chain, where emergency medical care is offered twenty four hours, seven days a week.

International pharmacies are promoted as having an array supply of both foreign and Cuban-manufactured medicines and high-tech medical equipment and services items not available to most Cubans. It would be interesting if the Cuban government is willing to provide records of what percentage of these products are available to the ordinary Cuban population.

Reporting from Baracoa for the Information Bridge Cuba Miami, Julián Antonio Mone Borrego, professor and president of the Miguel Valdés Tamayo Cuban Movement. Given with the collaboration of Plantados Hasta la Libertad y la Democracia en Cuba, on the 24th day of March, 2007.

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