Bolivia’s Cuban-inspired free public health system gets WHO kudos

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By Staff Reporter

The World Health Organisation has praised Bolivia’s Cuban-inspired public health program which aims to provide medical services to the wider population house to house and free of charge.

Fernando Leanes, the representative of the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) in Bolivia, was quoted by local media on Wednesday highlighting the achievements of the Mi Salud (My Health) program, five years after it was inaugurated.

On June 1, 2013, President Evo Morales inaugurated the Mi Salud program in the city of El Alto, which aims to provide medical care to the population, house by house and free of charge, as well as strengthening health centers.

After five years of being initiated as a project, with the advice of Cuba, the program covers today almost all of the Bolivian territory, since it is inserted in 308 municipalities of the country, with coverage of 90.8 per cent of the national territory.

More than two thousand Bolivians who graduated from the Latin American School of Medicine, based in the Caribbean island, are linked to this program, in which a group of Cuban doctors also contribute, in addition to their knowledge, their experiences in this humanitarian practice.

According to the authorities of the sector, the intention is that the teams made up of specialists in Family Community and Intercultural Health (Safci), general practitioners and nurses, perform free medical care, approach the family, the home, identifying risks early, which makes it possible to prevent problems.

Leanes said the achievements of Mi Salud and the Safci policy was due to the sovereign economic model implemented by the government of President Morales.

He recalled that in previous efforts some authorities tried to apply a primary health model, but “they did not have a penny to do it, they borrowed everything; In those days Bolivia was the poor country, which demanded everything. Now she has everything”.

Leanes said Bolivia was among those countries that have recorded the greatest achievements in terms of human development and health in the Latin American region.

He also added that Mi Salud was responsible for these successes since Bolivia applied the recommendations made by WHO in 1978 to improve health systems worldwide, goals that few nations achieved, including Vietnam, China, India, and Cuba.

 

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