Cuban docs, patients urged to be cost-conscious
Published February 18, 2011
Havana – Communist Party daily Granma called on everyone Friday to be
more aware of the amount of money Cuba spends to provide free universal
In an article entitled "How much would you have to pay for medical
services?" the newspaper published an unusual list of how much the
various procedures cost that Cubans get free, as an example of the
"countless benefits" they have enjoyed in the healthcare sector since
the victory of the revolution in 1959.
Granma stressed that preserving and raising the quality of healthcare
services is a "sacred principle" of the revolution that requires every
Cuban to "attain the economic awareness necessary to understand that
this 'manna' doesn't fall from heaven, but results from a collective
"So that this doesn't all go to waste, control and efficiency are
essential, so that in healthcare services, rationality and quality must
be the principles that guide the work," it said.
The head of the Systems and Methods Department of the Public Health
Ministry, Odalys Montesino, told the daily that it is essential to stop
the "diversion" or theft of medical funds and eliminate bloated staffing
Montesino also said that many specialists make "unreasonable use" of
high-tech diagnostic systems and lab tests "that could be eliminated
with a good clinical exam," as well as prescribing unnecessary medicines.
"The healthcare system has to pay special attention to costs" due to the
impact on the sector of the international financial crisis and the
economic embargo imposed on Cuba by the United States for half a
century," Granma said.
Quality, savings and efficiency of resources, along with the elimination
of unnecessary expenditures, head the healthcare guidelines within the
plan of economic reforms promoted by the Raul Castro government, to be
ratified in April at the 6th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba.