In the 90’s, Rodrigo Alvarez CambraCuba’s most famous orthopedic doctor opens the curtains of his operating room to Spanish students, The teacher intended to show progress in person Cuban technique, However, The medical students walked away in horror: “That was a massacre!”, This story was told years later by one of those visitors while examining a patient who had recently arrived from the island.
But, When did the decline of Cuban medicine begin?
According to the version of Ministry of Public Health (minsap)“The economic crisis that began in the 90s interrupted the development of a single national health system in its third phase and gave way to the fourth phase, characterized mainly by Economic difficulties in obtaining all types of equipment, medical supplies, materials and medicines In capitalist markets.
However, evidence points to previous decades. so, Havana regime successfully announces its slogan of “world medical power” And he devoted himself especially to the sciences of the socialist field.
“When I studied in England, I realized that Cuba’s neurorehabilitation techniques were not state-of-the-artBut We received Soviet information about technologies used in World War II.“The example is Miguel Ángel Ruano Sánchez, doctor in neurosciences and specialist in physical therapy and neuro-rehabilitation.
Ruano Sanchez presides Free Cuban Medical Guild (GMCL), a fundamentalist organization denouncing the sanitary conditions of Cuba and of Health professionals are victims of labor exploitation Of the island.
Experts believe that “the overthrow of the socialist camp made everything worse”, because the GDR and the USSR could no longer supply technologies, even if they were old.
“Also, there was no contact with the rest of the world and the state budget for reforms was low,” he says.
Modernization was attempted in the 2000s through the European company Enraf. According to the Madrid press, Spanish group Prime then announced “a huge contract”. Relocation teams to Cuba and Venezuela Eight million euros worth of materials, which will be supplied by Enraf Nonius”.
“Enraf He no longer trades with Cuba because the government owes him” says Ruano Sanchez.
Neither Prime nor Enraf responded to DIARIO DE CUBA’s requests to comment on this situation, including the alleged loan. There is no trace of business with the island government on its corporate pages.
According to Ruano, Equipment received on those dates for rehabilitation centers of polyclinics, “the vast majority does not workAnd they are piled in corners and warehouses.
Heart attack and stroke, increased problems
MINSAP assures that Heart disease is the number one cause of death in Cuba, followed by malignant tumors and cerebrovascular diseases. However, “There is no emergency service outside the hospital that allows the patient to communicate with trained personnel who recognize the symptoms. And tell him what to do while a service comes to take him to the hospital,” explains the RE surgeon, who asked that his identity not be revealed.
,The patient recognizes symptoms that could be a stroke or heart attack, but, if he can, he has to go to the hospital.“, Add.
Frequent digestive bleeding is another worrying example, but the government has not “developed specialized units” to diagnose them, nor so-called “interventional radiology”.
“There is no other option Emphasize techniques related to gastroenterology that are out of use worldwide“, regret re
Highly stigmatized treatments, such as electroshock, have become accepted treatments around the world under some ethical and medical consensus. This has been influenced by the widespread use of muscle relaxants and anesthetics.
,In Cuba, electroconvulsive therapy – the famous electroshock – is being carried out using muscle relaxants and without anesthesia., Applying the treatment directly is a very violent method. “Anesthesia helps protect against potential musculoskeletal injuries that result from induced seizure crises,” explains Dr. Emilio Arteaga, a Cuban psychiatrist based in Spain.
From the point of view of drugs, “the most advanced psychotropic drugs are lackingBe it antidepressants, antipsychotics or any medication used for mental disorders.
“You have to work practically with drugs from 30 or 40 years ago. It influences the development of many mental disorders and produces notable side effects,” says Arteaga.
The VI Report on the Situation of Social Rights in Cuba (2023), prepared by the Cuban Observatory of Human Rights (OCDH), shows that Only 5% could get medicines at state pharmacies, and 15% took medicines that had expired,
In a survey conducted by the CubeData project in August 2022, 96.2% of them consulted They reported experiencing some physical illness and 92.7% reported experiencing some emotional disorder. In the 12 months prior to administration of the survey. 80.3% said they had serious problems obtaining medications and 57.6% said they faced major barriers to obtaining medical care.,
University, with Google Notes
From the 60s, the USSR became the main supplier Textbooks for Cuban universities of medical sciences, Among them, atlases of anatomy, neurophysiology, physiology, embryology or morphological sciences, says Dr. Miguel Ángel Ruano Sánchez, based in Colombia.
“Now, the largest production is national, including the experiences of people trained in the Soviet Union and others who are no longer in Cuba, but we left behind the literature. In addition to the reviews taken, today students use From Google,” he adds.
the expert regrets “The complete collapse of the Cuban Academy of Medicinewhich is reflected in the concerns of Tourists who believe it still has a healing powerA myth created by Fidel in order to get involved in politics.
,I made my own special photocopied books, but these were often out of date, I mean, Most of the surgical techniques in the books were not practiced for yearsBecause they were obsolete,” admits a doctor who graduated in the 90s.
One day, at the surgery exam for specialization, the RE doctor responded with the current data, “Just read.” The court stopped him because its members had not heard of these advances. That’s why he had to expose I learned “the same old techniques” when I studied medicine,
“They wanted me to talk about something whose existence had already been proven. They accused me of ‘accepting’ a pamphlet I read on the Internet, but they were surprised when I said that It was an updated manual on the pathophysiology of thoracic trauma, from the Amajiras Hospital,” he recalls.
Exchange of information on the Internet, access to scientific journals and “traffic” of books from other countries are some of the factors Unequal medical studies from every perspective, situation like this happens Students who have more modern materials than their teachersAnd the absence of a bibliography – basic and acceptable – throughout the national territory.
Havana is shouting from the rooftops that the United States embargo is to blame for Cuba’s medical debacle, but the reality is different.
“Do you know that, since the beginning of the year, United States approves nearly $900 million in medical exports to Cuba, And that figure is double for 2021, up from $800 million last year. The embargo should not be manipulated as an excuse for the lack of medical care in Cuba“, published in 2023 by the United States Embassy on the island.
document Provision of humanitarian aid to CubaFrom the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs of the State Department, including “Drugs and medical devices, whether sold or donated”In “General Approval Policy”.
“So no, the embargo is not a ‘blockade’, nor is it the reason why medicines are not available to Cuban citizens.”Assured the North American Embassy.
Between 2008 and 2022, GAESA Military Emporium “Not less than $69.8 billionOf the Rs 108.5 billion it has collected from the salaries of ‘associate’ doctors“, according to calculations by Havana Consulting Group.
In Report Cuba: GAESA is plundering health securityIn November 2023, the Cuban Observatory of Citizens Audit and Cuba Siglo 21 confirmed that “huge amounts of capital ended up in the hands of GAESA through the International Financial Bank” and “Never returned to rebuilding hospitals, acquiring equipment and medical supplies or improving the conditions of patient care or the wages and working conditions of those working in that field.”
Data from the Office of National Statistics and Information (ONEI) shows this Investments in health in the said period amounted to $1.7 billion, “which is 1.61% of the earnings earned by Cuban medical personnel deployed abroad. During that entire period”, the Cuban regime devoted “approximately $24.2 billion” to the construction of new hotels.
The list of curious questions in Cuban public health is endless: extracting teeth without anesthesia, using stitches made from tree bark, covering wounds with tape to close boxes, applying resin to teeth instead of fillings, or using herbs to cure everything including itching and conjunctivitis. ..