No operation waiting lists in Cuba says report

Campaign News | Tuesday, 17 May 2005

Effective primary care the key to keeping operations down

Las Tunas, Cuba, May 13- Different from many other Latin American countries, no patient in Cuba ended up waiting for surgery in 2004; and so far this year, some 7,887 operations have been performed in Cuba's eastern province of Las Tunas - according to a report recently released by the local office of the Ministry of Public Health.

Dr. Xiomara Gonzalez Gonzalez, a local healthcare official, said this accomplishment has been possible thanks to effective primary care to patients at family-doctor's offices, policlinics and hospitals. Community-based preventive care is a key strategy of Cuban healthcare.

Such results have brought prestige to the island’s healthcare system-a truth that has been recognized by many worldwide.

This contrasts to Chile, where some 25,000 people in Chile are waiting for various types of surgery, according to a report issued by that country's National Health Fund. Unfortunately, only half of those cases will be operated on this year. The South American nation has been facing this problem since 2002, when waiting lists climbed to over 50,000 patients in need of medical attention.

In Las Tunas, however, 22 children who suffer from congenital cataracts recovered their vision after being operated on by local ophthalmologists at the Pando Ferrer Hospital-a medical institution where many Venezuelan patients are also undergoing complex optical surgeries.

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