Cuba, the proud
....and is becoming the symbol of successful health care system and health care research:
Cuba's development model is based on harnessing the nation's wealth in human resources and science to a create a knowledge -based economy focused around health, according to the 79 year-old president. "Someone might think that we
are going bankrupt," President Castro said at a recent conference.
"No. We are improving. Human capital is worth far more than financial capital."
Even the temptation of more money in countries such as the US hasn't affected Cuban medical professionals:
Health ministry officials say Cuba's $1.8bn (£1bn) and growing tourism industry will soon be overtaken as the number one foreign exchange earner by biotechnology joint ventures, vaccine exports and the provision of health services to other countries.
Successful clinical trials in several countries have already established Cuba as a world leader in cancer research and treatment.... .
Despite all the difficulties and harassments, humanitarian health care efforts abroad by Cuba is also increasing:
But this success story has also given rise to concerns. What if Cuba's medical professionals decide to follow in the footsteps of several Cuban sport stars who in the past have gone to the US, lured by substantial financial rewards.
"We know that in the US scientists are highly paid. I receive only 665 pesos a month (less than US$40)," observes Dr Perez. But "we work in a environment of fulfilment and innovation", he says, pointing towards a laboratory full of scientists. "You are free to interview any of them". "We are highly motivated, not by money and commercial profit, but by a commitment to saving lives. We have not lost any of them. Nobody has defected to the US."
Humanitarian missions in 68 countries are manned by 25,000 Cuban doctors, and medical teams have assisted victims of both the Tsunami and the Pakistan earthquake. In addition, last year 1,800 doctors from 47 developing countries graduated in Cuba, and scholarships are on offer to developing country medical students studying at home.
Imagine how would Cuba be today, if it wasn't for the decades of embargo and harassments by the United States.
With all its shortcomings, there are many reasons to be proud of Cuba.