10/04/2011: "Cuban Health Propaganda Takes In Another Believer"
Letter to the Saskatoon StarPhoenix:
It appears Mark Lemstra (Cuba's health results better at fraction of cost, SP Sept 29*) has fallen for the public statistics the Cuban ministry of health puts out and hasn't dug any deeper into the reality of Cuban misery.
The infant mortality rate is a prime example of the manipulation of these statistics. This rate is seen in Cuba more as a target than something to report. As such, doctors are pressured to abort pregnancies in order to prevent this statistic from exceeding their quota. Patients also have no right to refuse this "treatment", no right to privacy, to informed consent, or to protest or sue for malpractice.
The hospitals most leaders and visitors will see are indeed well equipped, well staffed, and well supplied. This front is what has been displayed in much of the Cuban propaganda, but the majority of the population languishes in facilities that would disgust most Canadians. They are run down, poorly maintained, filthy, and inadequately stocked with critical drugs and other supplies.
I really don't think this is the kind of model we want to emulate.
Update: Published as Cuba no model