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    Education and Prevention – My Trip to Cuba

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | February 19th, 2018

    Education and Prevention – My Trip to Cuba

    Hola! I spent the past week in Cuba and it was totally amazing. The island is beautiful and the people are extremely friendly and welcoming. I look forward to going back.

    I went to Cuba because I was curious. I wanted to know why Cuba was more efficient in providing health care to their citizens. America spends ten times more on health care per person than Cuba and yet the infant mortality rate (the number of babies dying within the first year of life) is lower in Cuba than in the United States. The life expectancy is about the same and depending on the source is slightly better in Cuba than in the United States. How is this possible? The physicians I interviewed all gave the same answer – EDUCATION and PREVENTION.

    Facts about Cuba:

    Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean.

    Capital: Havana

    Official language: Spanish

    President: Raùl Castro

    Population: 11.2 million people

    Compulsory education from ages 6 – 16 years old – there is no opportunity to drop out. The literacy rate in Cuba is 97%.

    Education is free including all the universities and trade schools.

    Health Care is free to all citizens.

    Every citizen in Cuba is provided food and shelter.

    Along with excellent health care and free education, they have great music and art.

    They are also known for their tobacco, rum and coffee.

    For every 125 families, there is a primary care provider. I had an opportunity to visit a primary care provider in the office. During my visit, people just stopped by to say hello. Some brought beverages for the nurse and doctor. The nurse mentioned, “We are a big family”. About once or twice a week, the doctor will do house calls for those who are unable to stop by the office or for those who have not been seen for a while. The emphasis is on preventing a problem from occurring. Their focus is on providing health rather than treating disease which is the model we currently have in the United States.

    When giving advice to patients, they incorporate food as medicine and offer acupuncture and massages. They freely talk about birth control. All forms of birth control are available.  The average number of children per household is 1.5. The women I talked to stated that it was important to make sure they could provide for their children before considering pregnancy.

    If we are spending as much as we are in the United States per person, we deserve to get better results. EDUCATION AND PREVENTION has to be part of the solution. We have proof that it works.


    2 Responses to “Education and Prevention – My Trip to Cuba”

    1. Tracy Davis says:

      Wow…sounds like a wonderful experience!!!

    Leave a Reply

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