Cuba is one of the countries that receives a major chunk of its revenues through the medical tourism sector. This points to the quality of services offered by its well-established healthcare system. Though medical tourism as an industry is still in its infancy, the quality and organization of the healthcare system and infrastructure in the country is the key strength for the development of medical tourism.
The healthcare system in Cuba is nationalized with no participation from the private sector. All the hospitals and clinics in addition to pharmacies and related medical service providers are owned and managed by the government. The right to health is one of the foundations of the Cuban community and the priority of the government, besides education. Health care is free for all the citizens, including universal vaccinations and preventive care. The doctor patient ratio in the country surpasses some of the most proficient healthcare systems in the world and currently stands at 1 doctor for every 170 people. This is the second highest doctor-patient ratio in the world, second only to Italy. This is the reason for its exceptionally high health indices, which are comparable even to countries like the USA, despite the state of the economy. High life expectancy, low mortality and control over contagious and epidemic diseases, have all been achieved since the overhaul of the system in the 1980s. Cuba has the 39th most effective and quality healthcare system in the world according to the World Health Organization.
Hospital and doctor standards in Cuba
Cuban doctors are known throughout the world for their expertize and specialization. They not only receive extensive training experience, but are also exposed to medical practices at international destinations due to trade agreements with South American and Caribbean countries. All the doctors and support medical staff are abreast with the latest developments in the field of medicine and heavily invest time in research, especially in the field of epidemiological studies and biotechnology. Doctors in the country have a community approach to medicine and are involved in making house calls in the afternoons while attending hospitals and clinics in the morning.
Cuban hospitals and clinics are increasingly catering to the needs of medical tourists with hospitals like Cira Garcia Clinic, Gonzalez Coro and Hermanos Ameijeiras establishing special rooms for them. Many of the hospitals in the country are certified by the International Organization for Standardization for their excellence in hospital management, cleanliness, hygiene, environment and general practices. These medical institutions provide specialized care at affordable costs in the areas of eye surgery (ophthalmology), cardiology (heart surgery), skin care (dermatology), neurology, cosmetic/plastic surgery, addiction treatments, orthopedics and many more.
The Cuban healthcare system also has made space for alternative and complementary medicine including acupuncture, homeopathy, aromatherapy and spas. Traditional medicine has been a part of the Cuban culture for a long time.
One of the most impressive developments in the system is the creation of nationalized networks with respect to Blood Banks, Medical Images and Nephrology that are all computerized. France is the only other country in the world to have achieved this kind of a healthcare system.
On an average, Cuba receives 20,000 medical tourists each year. These numbers are only going to have an upward tendency with the government in Cuba focusing on promoting the industry to help generate international revenues. The slight relaxation of ties with the USA is only going to have a positive impact on the healthcare system, besides opening up the market and making the required infrastructure readily available. The government in the bid to boost medical tourism in the country has established an organization known as Servimed, which is responsible for sourcing medical treatments and healthcare in Cuba for international travellers.
More information about healthcare and medical tourism in Cuba
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