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Cuba is Exporting Healthcare Now

tions for a total of 1.7 million patients.

The disaster assistance is part of Cuba's medical aid mission that has extended from Peru to Indonesia, and even included caring for 17,000 children sickened by the 1986 accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine.

It isn't only in times of disaster that Cuban health care workers get involved. Some 29,000 Cuban health professionals are now practicing in 69 countries -- mostly in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. In Venezuela, about 20,000 of them have enabled President Hugo Chvez to make good on his promise to provide health care to the poor. In the shantytowns around Caracas and the banks of the Amazon, those who organize themselves and find a place for a doctor to practice and live can request a Cuban doctor.

As in Cuba, these doctors and nurses live where they serve, and become part of the community. They are available for emergencies, and they introduce preventative health practices.

And thanks to its pro-active role on the healthcare front, rising to the occasion whenever disaster strikes any region, even otherwise offering training and other assistance to countries requiring them, Castros Cuba is generating goodwill all round, including in places like Pakistan.

As Gelder remakrs, Even more revolutionary than the right to health care for all is the idea that an investment in health -- or in clean water, adequate food or housing -- could be more powerful, more effective at building security than bombers and aircraft carriers.


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