Cuba's international cooperation in health: An overview
De Vos, Pol
De Ceukelaire, Wim
Van der Stuyft, Patrick
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De Vos, P., De Ceukelaire, W., Bonet, M. & Van der Stuyft, P. (2007) Cuba's international cooperation in health: An overview. International Journal of Health Services, 37(4), pp. 761-776.
In the first years after Cuba's 1959 revolution, the island's new government provided international medical assistance to countries affected by natural disasters or armed conflicts. Step by step, a more structural complementary program for international collaboration was put in place. The relief operations after Hurricane Mitch, which struck Central America in 1998, were pivotal. From November 1998 onward, the “Integrated Health Program” was the cornerstone of Cuba's international cooperation. The intense cooperation with Hugo Chávez's Venezuela became another cornerstone. Complementary to the health programs abroad, Cuba also set up international programs at home, benefiting tens of thousands of foreign patients and disaster victims. In a parallel program, medical training is offered to international students in the Latin American Medical School in Cuba and, increasingly, also in their home countries. The importance and impact of these initiatives, however, cannot and should not be analyzed solely in public health terms.