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Ode to Cuban doctors

Cuban medic in Venezuela (Photo: Amelia Opalinska)

A December article in the British daily The Independent, entitled “Cuban medics in Haiti put the world to shame”, begins by noting that, despite Barack Obama’s pledge for a monumental humanitarian mission to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, U.S. efforts have paled in comparison to those of Cuba, which has had a sizable medical contingent stationed on the Caribbean island since 1998. Cuban doctors and nurses have been instrumental in responding to the Haitian cholera outbreak, though their efforts have gone largely unrecognized internationally.

The article, by Nina Lakhani, contains a wealth of details that might be of interest to persons concerned that socialized medicine produces inferior results. After noting that “[a] third of Cuba’s 75,000 doctors, along with 10,000 other health workers, are currently working in 77 poor countries” but that “this still leaves one doctor for every 220 people at home, one of the highest ratios in the world, compared with one for every 370 in England”, Lakhani writes:

Medical training in Cuba lasts six years – a year longer than in the UK – after which every graduate works as a family doctor for three years minimum. Working alongside a nurse, the family doctor looks after 150 to 200 families in the community in which they live. (more…)


Post-earthquake photos of Haiti by Daniel Cima

This past week in Washington, D.C., I met with award-winning Argentine photographer Daniel Cima, who spent over a month in Haiti following the January 2010 earthquake.

The following series of Cima’s photographs is an example of disaster-inspired creativity of a different nature than that espoused by hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean, who preferred to channel his artistic talents into a bid for the Haitian presidency before settling for a musical album entitled “If I Were President, the Haitian Experience”.