Pre-revolutionary healthcare in Cuba, while advanced, was mainly accessible only to the urban rich. When over half of the country's medical staff fled the island in the early years of the Revolution, the government embarked on an ambitious program of public health policies to reverse some of the most appalling health standards in Latin America. Today, Cuba boasts 21 medical schools that churn out 4,000 doctors each year (a ratio of 1 doctor per every 200 inhabitants nationwide), a network of hospitals, polyclinics and mobile laboratories that extend to all corners of the island, and a system that provides medical care -- regardless of the care required -- to all citizens for free. In addition, Cuba's biotechnical and pharmaceutical research and development industries have made notable leaps in molecular immunology and organ transplants, and has made the country the acknowledged leader in orthopedics.
These amazing accomplishments are partly due to the government's emphasis on preventative medicine and community-based doctors. A near 100% immunization rate has resulted in the eradication of several contagious diseases such as polio, measles, malaria, tetanus and diphtheria. Thanks to comprehensive pre-natal care, the infant mortality rate is now at a low 7.1 per every 1,000 births, and the average life expectancy has increased by over 50% to 76 years, the highest in Latin America.
The need for foreign currency has resulted in some health-care resources being diverted to "health tourism." Annually, over 5,000 people travel to Cuba to take advantage of specialized health services including plastic surgery, orthopedics, neurological restoration, and stress. Cuba also has many mineral and medicinal hot springs as well as brines and muds used for curative effects. Several existing spa facilities are currently being restored and remodeled into treatment centers for tourists.
Possible Itinerary Highlights:
- Visit to the Children's hospital. ICU pediatric ward Marfan hospital
- Discussions with directors of the Cira Garcia Health Clinic
- Visit to the Institute of Tropical Medicine
- Visit to the Cuban Society of Nursing
- Visit to Santiago de las Vegas HIV/AIDS Sanatorium
- Meetings with directors of the Cuban Association of Psychiatry and Psychology
With our direct ties to the Ministry of Public Health, Hospitals and Health Clinics, and the most renowned Cuban physicians and academics practicing medicine in the country, Cuba Cultural Travel is well qualified to assist individual professionals or academic groups wishing to attend one of many congresses and conferences as well to create specialized tours.