Ask any Cuban who has recently left the island (because they can’t talk freely about this inside of Cuba) about their health care system and they will tell you that it is often a challenge just to get aspirin and they often have to get it on the black market. The run-down, dilapidated and unsanitary conditions in the facilities that the average Cuban must go to for care are a far cry from the hospitals and clinics reserved for high-ranking members of the communist party or the military. There are actually special facilities in Cuba that serve foreigners who can pay in foreign currency.
If the lauded Cuban healthcare system is so wonderful, perhaps someone can explain to me the following:
* Why some patients are taken to the hospital in wheelbarrows instead of ambulances?
* Why patients must bring their own linens for the hospital bed and often, a fan, to combat the stifling heat and lack of air-conditioning?
* Why cockroaches and other vermin are present in what is supposed to be “sanitary” health facilities? Why many common medicines are not available? If Cuba can export cutting-edge biotechnological products to other countries, surely the US embargo cannot be blamed for not allowing medicine to enter Cuba.
* Why, in a 185-bed cancer center in Santiago where some 6,000 people are treated MONTHLY, there is a shortage of basics such as codeine, anti-nausea drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, antacids, laxatives, high blood pressure medicine, antihistamines, anti-depressants, contraceptives, vitamins and minerals? This particular hospital, sadly, is the norm, not the exception
* Why 41% of patients in Cuban hospitals are undernourished, particularly after surgery. Malnutrition risks increase with extended stays in the hospital, according to the U.S. National Institute of Health.