A First-Hand Experience with Cuba’s Healthcare System

By Fernando Ravsberg


HAVANA TIMES — Our blog, Cartas desde Cuba, has a new member: Lucia, our webmaster’s daughter, born yesterday in Havana’s Gonzalez Coro Hospital. There, we were able to see Cuba’s public health system at work, and understand why infant mortality rates are so low in the country.

Throughout the past 9 months, the new mother had around 2 weekly consultations, from checkups to ultrasounds (one of them 3D), through HIV, RH and genetic blood tests.

On D-Day, we ran into the first surprise on arriving at the hospital and being informed that no outside sheets or towels may be brought into the ward, that only properly sterilized materials may be used. A sign that things may be improving in terms of resources, I thought.

What came as no surprise was the attitude shown by doctors. From the moment our friend arrived, she was treated by a well-oiled machine, passing through the emergency ward to the pre-partum area, where the specialists accompanied her till labor.

At that moment, the doctor who had been following the pregnancy appeared to deliver the baby. An hour later, we were told Lucia had been born without any complications and that friends and relatives could go in to see her for a few moments.

For the 3 days the mother and baby stayed at the hospital, they were subjected to numberless tests to ensure both were in perfect condition to be discharged.

If we were to try and nitpick here, I feel they should develop a better system to keep relatives informed, as, under the current system, one only gets updates every 12 hours. As such, one can spend half a day knowing nothing about the pregnant person.

It is well worth mentioning our friend is Cuban and she received the same care all other 14 Cuban mothers (of different skin colors and from different social classes) received that day. We thank the nurses and doctors and welcome Lucia into this world.

26 thoughts on “A First-Hand Experience with Cuba’s Healthcare System

  • November 8, 2015 at 1:46 am

    Babette, mia amore….I’m Cuban and have lived the reality that is Cuba. And yes I also enjoy reading havanatimes.org en Español. I would suggest you read the comments portion in Spanish to get a good idea of how Cubans really feel. A real eye opener. Perhaps you should also visit Cuba, see what a real hospital looks like….say in matanzas.

  • November 7, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    I recommend that you also read articles on the Translating Cuba web site. This site is composed of Cuban journalists writing directly from Cuba. They actually live there and can give you the real scoop. Also read articles on the PanAm Post website. At this site, you will also find writers from all over Latin America writing about Cuba. The best way to combat mendacious propaganda is to read from legitimate, reputable sources and get the firsthand experiences from dissidents and exiles. Regards.

  • November 7, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    You do not know the history of Cuba. Cuba was an advanced nation before Castro’s revolution. Before 1959, the infant mortality rate was already low as compared with other nations in the world. Today, the so-called “wonderfully” low mortality rates are due to the ubiquitous abortions that are performed on a regular basis. Cuba’s abortion rates are one of the highest in the world. Guess what? Their doctors are also practicing infanticide. Children born with perceived defects are murdered soon after birth. The Castro regime forcibly sends doctors to other nations and withholds equitable pay. These doctors are virtual slaves to the regime. Why do you think so many of them seek asylum in the host country? It is called human trafficking and slave labor. Additionally, so many of these doctors are sent abroad that, currently, there is an extreme shortage of doctors in Cuba. Most of the doctors in Cuba today are badly trained and lack the tools to adequately provide care. Did you know that there is a full-blown epidemic of cholera and dengue throughout Cuba? The Castro regime does not report this, but Cubans from the island have been writing about the deplorable state of healthcare for years. The Castro regime’s healthcare system is a fraud. Their good healthcare is reserved for the tourists and Castro elites. The average Cuban citizen is not receiving good care. They are neglected and rotting away in dilapidated filthy hospitals, clinics and psychiatric wards. The hospitals and clinics for the average Cuban do not have medical instruments, bed sheets, lightbulbs, band-aids, toilet paper, medicines or basic medical supplies. Why do you think exiles send billions of dollars in remittances a year to Cuba? Why do you think exiles send medicines and other supplies to relatives on the island?

    Wake up! You are living in a fantasy. You have swallowed the Castro regime’s pernicious lies and are making excuses for their depravity. The Castro regime does not care about its citizens. They only care about solidifying their repressive murderous power. Their fallacious healthcare claims are propaganda, and you have been duped.

    The Castro regime has been engaged in genocide for the past 56 years. Good healthcare?? No. GENOCIDE.

  • November 7, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Yes, I was born in Cuba and have lived in Cuba. I know exactly what I am talking about. The Castro regime has destroyed a once vibrant, prosperous and advanced nation. You, sir, are the one spewing more of Castro’s repugnant, fallacious propaganda. You should be ashamed. Graphic, verbal and historical documentation of the past 56 years debunk your outright, uneducated lies. Castro’s revolution is an abysmal failure. Good luck with your studies, comrade.

  • November 7, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Are you saying the author is lying or has been duped by the Castros. I don’t remember you complaining about his article on corruption and mismanagement in the clothing sector. Is that also “suspect”? He is describing his experiences and you should respect that.

  • November 7, 2015 at 9:13 am

    As a proud Canadian, I take offense to Irina’s tirade. No system is perfect. However, it is the only one we have. If you are unhappy with the medical system in Canada, I have three options for you for your next pregnancy: 1. Give birth to your child in Cuba; 2 Give birth at your home or 3. Return to your motherland. It seems that you are not happy with the system here. Instead of bad-mouthing and complaining about the system, work to improve it – if you dare. Malcontents!

  • November 7, 2015 at 8:28 am

    Lol …obviously you don’t know any Cubans

  • November 7, 2015 at 2:46 am

    My dear, have you ever visited Cuba? You sound very hostile to the Revolution: You donot possess one clue about that which you speak. I have been there; I have been attended to and the nurses are so friendly and humane even though they did not speak my language. Girl, you really hate the Castro’s for bring a health care system which could be compared to any heath care system in the world. And, do you know what? It is accessible to all and sundry, regardless of col our, class or creed. An American won a trip to Russia. On his return to America he was interviewed about his trip. He stated that in his travels in Russia he never encountered a homeless person on the streets. He was labelled a communist

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