Dengue, God and the State

Luis Miguel del Bahia

Havana Fumigator from the anti-dengue campaign. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — My girlfriend woke up with a fever and a generally bad look. Concerned, we left with her for the doctor’s office, yet what was supposed to be a relief turned into a nightmare.

Since a dengue outbreak had been reported, when we got there they diagnosed it precisely as that and immediately sent her to a quarantine center.

Whenever someone shows the slightest sign (meaning a simple fever), you’ll be admitted to a hospital. Nevertheless this involves even greater risks to the patient as they’ll be exposed to all kinds of bacteria and microbes concentrated there.

Refusing to be admitted involves a fine of 300 pesos – half of a good monthly Cuban salary. I was determined to avoid having her checked in because there are ways to prevent infection – mosquito nets, etc.

Therefore, it’s not imperative that one subject themself to reusable syringes, which when poorly sterilized can lead to you picking up an even worse disease.

The government’s position is clear; it prefers uncomfortable and somewhat risky hospital admissions as the lesser of the two evils. However from an individual’s perspective, no one wants to see themself or a family member on the other side of the quarantine – especially when there’s only a suspicion of them having contracted something serious.

To admit my girlfriend in there with other sick people was contributing to her possibly contracting some disease. Not only was it an abuse of the procedure but it was very poorly done.

“But where in the world would they not safeguard public health at the cost of isolation?” I thought: Nowhere. Even the most democratic nation would employ radical measures if necessary.

It turned out that she had a kidney infection, and despite this not requiring ambulance staff, it’s still possible that the Kaspersky (anti-virus) guys will come.

There’s no way, then, to escape God, the state… and now dengue.


2 thoughts on “Dengue, God and the State

  • Public health issues are hard to understand for someone from a country that has no effective public health system. Yet it doesn’t stop some assholes from shooting off their mouth on subjects they know nothing about.

    What’s worse, I wonder, to be ” precariously close to disaster due to poor management and limited resources” or to have nothing to manage? No chance of failure there. And if there’s nothing to manage there’s no problems with “limited resources” as no resources are required.

    Why does ‘Moses’ habitually criticise Cuba’s health and education systems in HT which are universally recognised to be excellent? Because he’s trying to convince Cubans their government has accomplished nothing worthwhile so they will turn against it.

    A pretty crappy think to do, no? At least when I point out the shitty medical and education systems Americans have, everyone knows it’s true, even Americans.

  • Unfortunately, police-state tactics are probably the most prudent course for the Castro regime to take in their attempt to mitigate the dengue epidemic. despite Cubas successes in public health, they remain precariously close to disaster due to poor management and limited resources. To allow a more humane and flexible policy would only invite a more rapid spread of the virus.

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