WHEN Jose Luis Cabrera had coronary bypass surgery after a heart attack five years ago, his wife had to bring food and clean sheets to him in the hospital.

But the operation itself didn't cost the Cuban couple a cent.

But Gail Reed, producer of a recent documentary on Cuban health care called Salud!, believes Cuba is a model for other developing countries that cannot afford costly medical treatment and where preventing illness makes good economic sense.

And Dr David Hickey, a transplant surgeon at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, said Cuba is a world leader in primary health care based on preventive medicine.

He said: "It's a very sobering experience for someone coming from the affluent West to see what they can achieve."   Cuba has developed the world's first Meningitis B vaccine which is available in Third World countries, but not in Europe or the United States due to US sanctions.

The Scotsman - International - The healthy debate over Cuba's medical care


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