SCH founder, Dr. Khama Rogo, visited Cuba recently to learn more about their famous healthcare system. Please find his testimonial below on the lessons learned from one of the world’s most official public health systems:
Cuba is a small island in the Carribean Sea. It’s 11 million population enjoys some of the highest health services on the world. Their health outcomes rank with best in the world and are the envy of most rich industrialized nations.
Cuba is a developing third world country without any natural resources such as minerals or petrol. It has only one major cash crop, sugarcane. In fact, driving through rural Cuba resembles Kibos and Chemelil areas….miles and miles of sugar plantations run by the state through cooperatives. You may be forgiven to think you are in Awendo.
Cuba is also famous for its Cigars, highly sought globally, and it’s rum. Havana Club is their signature wine and is supposed to be top end. We concur.
The most famous son of Cuba is the late ‘El Commandante’ Fidel Castro, who passed on a few weeks before the Sagam visit. The island is still in mourning of their beloved revolutionary.
The biggest benefit the revolution brought to every Cuban is in the social sector- free quality healthcare from cradle to grave; free education to the highest level your grey matter can propel you. They have some of the best universities and experts in every field, sciences, arms literature and health. Name it. And they have allot to spare and export……over 30,000 doctors serving as aid to other countries (including sending doctors to Africa; most recently, they sent the highest number of doctors to Liberia and Sierra Leone to help with the Ebola crisis).
No starvation- every Cuban family gets a monthly ration, irrespective of status, with special package got children. So….there is no malnutrition and stunting of Cuban children. No wonder they flourish is sport and look so pretty and happy….with full stomachs.
That is not tall; Cuba is a truly rainbow nation. The hue of colors from black to white to every mixture in between, living together in completely mixed communities. Their is no color barriers in Cuba. An amazing statement but we saw it. They live it.
Finally, their absolute safety. No they or fear of thuggery. You can walk any where 24/7, yet there are not many policemen in view. Law and order prevails. People line up patiently for services and apologize if any one tries to skip the cue.
Just one question: how does a poor island without natural resources do all this, despite tough 50 years of US trade and cultural embargo??
It is leadership, self belief and discipline. This is what most of Africa lacks.
The family doctor is the primary care giver to a designated community in Cuba. He refers to a poly clinic that’s adequately staffed with consultants, diagnostic equipment and offers emergency care but not in patients.
More complicated cases and admissions go to the hospitals. All this is high quality, efficient and free. They have all specialization a, from open heart surgery to cancer care…all free and available for Cubans!! As such, Cuba enjoys some of the best health indicators in the world, even beating more developed countries in the West!
Clever Cubans do not want the rest of the envious world to come and enjoy their services for free. The have set up an effective medical tourism industry that now treat Americans, Asians, Africans and the rest of the world for a fee. These are state hospitals and the profits are ploughs back to benefit Cuban public health services.
The success of the Medical Tourism program is self evident at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana. Thousands of medical tourists arriving and leaving from the rest of the world.
Lastly, Cuba has beaches but nothing close to our Malindi. But they receive many more tourists, especially from Canada, South America and Europe. Japanese, Chinese and Koreans are increasing and Americans are already queuing, thanks to Obama wisdom to remove the half century of isolation.
Final thoughts: Sagam’s idea is spot on. We can redefine the fate of our people when leadership has vision and commitment, populations are mobilized and disciplined;
when we truly believe and invest in our communities….YES WE CAN!