Cuban Health Care System

Prior to 1959, Cuba had a social structure, a relationship to the United States and patterns of health and disease similar to the rest of Latin America. That is to say, virtually all of the best farmland and productive capital belonged to a tiny elite supported by the US government and there was widespread poverty, disease and illiteracy, especially in rural areas where most Cubans lived. In 1959 a revolutionary armed force led by Fidel Castro, Che Guevera and others took power, ousting the US-backed dictator Batista. A significant part of the political program advanced by the new revolutionary regime was free and equal access to health care. Their social program also included land reform, guaranteed employment and universal free education [2].

Over the next 25 years dramatic progress was made in several measurable outcomes, including literacy, life expectancy and infant mortality. Cuba achieved a rate of infant survival superior to the United States in 2001 and has retained its higher ranking since [3].

1. Butler W.P. (May 1969). Cuba's Revolutionary Medicine. Ramparts Magazine pp. 6-15.
2. Feinsilver, J. (1993). Healing the Masses: Cuban Health Politics at Home and Abroad. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
3. Hamilton et al. (2013). Annual review of vital statistics, 2010-11. Pediatrics 131:548-558.
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