Is Cuba the answer?
Cuba’s annual total health spend per capita is only $251
- By: James Gardiner
With the 1959 revolution, Cuba was transformed from an open offshore dependent island into a communist state.1 Healthcare and literacy were now controlled by a government that had to battle against a US embargo.2 This, together with the fall of the Soviet bloc countries in the late 80s and early 90s,3 seriously affected the economy. It also strained its healthcare system and resulted in a deterioration in the health and nutrition of a substantial proportion of Cubans as the import of food and medical supplies was restricted.4
By the early 1990s, per capita calorie and protein intake had fallen by 40% and 42%, respectively.3 Mortality increased in those aged >65 years to 54.9 per 1000 (48.4 per 1000 in 1989), and the proportion of low birthweight infants rose to 9% (7.3% in 1989). Also, the incidence of tuberculosis had risen to 15 cases per 100 000 in 1995 (5 cases per