Cuba has a higher doctor-patient ratio than the US. Cuba uses American
medical textbooks to train its doctors and has a very high standard of medical
care; it also trains many medical professionals from poor nations,
so can connect easily with medical professionals in countries where its people
are deployed. What it lacks is
money. Fortunately, the WHO will
pick up the tab. As quoted in Time:
“Cuba is world-famous for its ability to train outstanding doctors and nurses,” said WHO director Margaret Chan in a Sept. press conference announcing Cuba’s surge of health care workers.
The sobering news is that there
are no more Cuba’s waiting in the wings to provide medical professionals for a
potentially deadly assignment in Africa. Other nations do not maintain a doctor surplus, nor do they encourage the “esprit de corps” culture that makes doctors willing to volunteer for potentially deadly assignments. From Forbes:
Cuba will be sending 63 doctors and 102 nurses, epidemiologists, specialists in infection control, intensive care specialists and social mobilization officers to set up World Health Organization-funded Ebola clinics in Sierra Leone. The workers will deploy in the beginning of October and stay for six months…
Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, said that the Cuban response was the first since her United Nations visit last week and “international rescue call” by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for a scale-up of aid and personnel to combat Ebola in west Africa.
Chan said today, “The thing we need most of all is people: health care workers…”