Cuba Document Archive | Health Cooperation

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Cuban health brigade in Haiti / Photo Credit: Peoplesworld / Flickr / CC-BY-NC

Renewed U.S.-Cuba Relations: Saving American Lives and Limbs?

By Gail Reed (Huffington Post, January 2015)

In this article, Reed discusses the diabetes medication Heberprot-P, which was developed in Cuba for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. Despite having already treated 165,000 patients and reducing risk of amputation by 75%, the drug is unavailable in the United States due to embargo restrictions. The article explains how the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control denied a license in 2010 and then licensed the drug only for clinical trials in 2014, making it impossible to sell the drug in the US even if the FDA approved the medication as safe and effective. The author describes how California-based nonprofit Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC) led a bipartisan congressional delegation to Havana to see Heberprot-P diabetes treatment at work.

Link to full text via Huffington Post

Why Cuba is So Good At Fighting Ebola

By Alexandra Sifferlin (Time, November 2014)

This article reports on Cuba's deployment of doctors to West Africa to help combat the region's outbreak of Ebola. It discusses Cuba's health crisis response system, which gives graduates of the Cuban medical school the opportunity to volunteer for medical missions abroad. At the date of publication, Cuba had provided a total of 460 doctors and nurses to West Africa and had 164 still working there under the supervision of the World Health Organization.

Link to full text via Times

Ebola Could Bring U.S. and Cuba Together

By Ted Piccone (Brookings Institution, October 31, 2014)

Piccone opines with a qualified "yes" that the U.S. and Cuba's mutual commitment to providing medical aid to fight Ebola offers an ideal opportunity for them to join forces for the greater good.He cites not only precedents for this kind of cooperation (such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti), but also past challenges affecting current teamwork on health care issues. This piece was originally published by The Mark.

Link to full text via the Brookings Institution

U.S. and Cuba Come Together Over Ebola, Infuriating Republicans

By Ernesto Londoño (New York Times Taking Note Blog, October 31, 2014)

Londoño applauds the U.S.'s pragmatic cooperation with Cuba and other ALBA nations as part of the global response to the Ebola epidemic, but notes sharp criticisms by some (increasingly isolated) lawmakers from South Florida.

Link to full text via the New York Times

Cuba's Latin American Medical School: Can Socially-Accountable Medical Education Make a Difference?

By Conner Gorry (MEDICC Review, July 2012)

In this article, MEDICC explains the difficulties that Cuba's Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) has in tracking its graduates and measuring their impact on health and policy in their local context. Given that ELAM is the world's largest and most diverse medical school with students from over 65 countries, it is difficult to gauge its impact and track its graduates' trajectories. The article discusses how ELAM has worked to better its tracking processes, i.e. through using information technologies and partnering with THENnet. It also examines the experiences of ELAM doctors in Haiti, El Salvador, the United States, Honduras, and Argentina.

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The Curious Case of Cuba

(American Journal of Health, June 2012)

This peer-reviewed article analyzes the principles, practices, and outcomes of the Cuban healthcare system in order to inform the transformation of the healthcare system in the United States. The authors hope to help foster mutual awareness of the U.S. and Cuban healthcare systems, which has been limited by the long-term hostilities between the two countries. It discusses issues such as universal access to preventive care, community-based health, integration of public health into clinical medicine, and the social determinants of health.

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Cuba Answers the Call for Doctors

By Gail Reed (Bulletin of the World Health Organization, May 2010)

This article discusses the Latin American Medical School's (ELAM) enrollment of students from outside Cuba, including the enrollment process, educational experience, and post-graduation trajectories of ELAM students. Since 2005, 7,248 physicians from 45 countries have received degrees from ELAM. The author notes that ELAM graduates are at work in countries across the world and have been accepted into residencies, including in the United States.

Link to full text via the World Health Organization

Cuban Public Health Cooperation in Haiti

(Center for International Policy, May 2010)

Cuba has played a major role in Haitian health care delivery, with Cuban doctors serving in the country since 1998, and the Latin American Medical School in Havana graduated hundreds of Haitians. Since the earthquake, that assistance has increased dramatically. This report claims that although Cuba and the United States often disagree, there is no reason the two cannot work together toward a common goal: to reduce the suffering of the Haitian people and to build a sustainable public health system.

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Cuba’s HIV/AIDS Strategy: An Integrated, Rights-Based Approach

(OXFAM, 2008)

This paper discusses the Cuban's approach to address HIV, which like the nation’s public health system, is founded on the principal that health is a human right. In practice, this translates into a continuum of care through universal access to primary, secondary, and tertiary health services, government commitment to equalizing and improving social determinants, and scientific research and development aimed at advancing the population's health. Constitutional rights, including job and housing guarantees and anti-discrimination laws also play a role. Free, equitable access to care, a robust national biotechnology capability, and an educated citizenry with confidence in the public health system have helped contain the epidemic on the island.

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Denial of Food and Medicine: The Impact of the U.S. Embargo on Health & Nutrition in Cuba | An Executive Summary

(American Association for World Health, March 1997)

This report from the American Association of World Health (AAWH)discusses findings of a multi-disciplinary research review about the implications of embargo restrictions on healthcare delivery and food security in Cuba (Whereas the full report consists of 300 pages of comprehensive study, this Executive Summary is an abridged version of 39 pages). AAWH concludes that the embargo has dramatically harmed the health and nutrition of many people in Cuba and led to considerable suffering and even deaths.

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