HealthMain article: Healthcare in Cuba
Historically, Cuba has ranked high in numbers of medical personnel and has made significant contributions to world health since the 19th century. Today, Cuba has universal health care and although shortages of medical supplies persist, there is no shortage of medical personnel. Primary care is available throughout the island and infant and maternal mortality rates compare favorably with those in developed nations.
Post-Revolution Cuba initially experienced an overall worsening in terms of disease and infant mortality rates in the 1960s when half its 6,000 doctors left the country. Recovery occurred by the 1980s, and the country's healthcare has been widely praised. The Communist government asserted that universal health care was to become a priority of state planning and progress was made in rural areas. Like the rest of the Cuban economy, Cuban medical care suffered from severe material shortages following the end of Soviet subsidies in 1991, followed by a tightening of the U.S. embargo in 1992.
Challenges include low pay of doctors (only $15 a month), poor facilities, poor provision of equipment, and frequent absence of essential drugs. Cuba has the highest doctor-to-population ratio in the world and has sent thousands of doctors to more than 40 countries around the world.
According to the UN, the life expectancy in Cuba is 78.3 years (76.2 for males and 80.4 for females). This ranks Cuba 37th in the world and 3rd in the Americas, behind only Canada and Chile, and just ahead of the United States. Infant mortality in Cuba declined from 32 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 1957, to 10 in 1990–95. Infant mortality in 2000–2005 was 6.1 per 1,000 live births (compared to 6.8 in the United States).
The quality of public healthcare offered to citizens is regarded as the "greatest triumph" of Cuba's socialist system.
Read more about this topic: Cuba
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