APHA Members Travel to Cuba for Insight on Health Strategies

By Johnson, Teddi Dineley | The Nation's Health, March 2011 | Go to article overview

APHA Members Travel to Cuba for Insight on Health Strategies


Johnson, Teddi Dineley, The Nation's Health


TO LEARN more about Cuba's renowned health system, a delegation of APHA members traveled to Havana in November. The five-day trip featured visits to medical schools, hospitals, schools, research facilities and health care programs.

The trip provided a wealth of insight for 70 participants from a range of backgrounds, said Carmen Nevarez, MD, MPH, immediate past president of APHA.

"It was a very broad group," Nevarez said. "We had physicians, nurses, counselors, community organizers. It really represented the depth and breadth of our Association."

Adhering to a packed agenda, the delegation visited numerous health facilities, including the National School of Public Health, the Center for the Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV/AIDS, the National Oncology Institute, the Latin American Medical School, an ophthalmological hospital, a vaccine research and development facility and a health care program for victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Members also visited four "polyclinics." Hailed as a cornerstone of Cuba's health system, the community-based clinics provide comprehensive primary care targeted to a community's needs.

"Cuba is an island of very limited resources," Nevarez said. "But they have achieved some of the highest international health status in the world because they have integrated community action and support into their health system and have made health care and prevention broadly accessible to all social groups. …

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