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If there is one thing for which Cuba has received praise over the years, it is the Communist government’s state-run healthcare system.
Much of this praise is well-deserved. Despite its scarce resources, Cuba has one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates – just slightly lower than that of the US. Life expectancy is 77.5 years, one of the world’s highest. And until not so long ago, there was one doctor for every 170 citizens – the highest patient-per-doctor ratio in the world.
Of course, the government can afford so many doctors because they are paid extremely low salaries by international standards. The average is between $30 and $50 per month.
And the benefits of this healthcare have not only been felt by Cubans.
Under Fidel Castro, the former Cuban president, hundreds of child victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, left without proper medical attention after the collapse of the Soviet Union, were invited to Cuba. A hospital was constructed to treat them while they and their families set up temporary residence in Tarara, a beautiful seaside neighbourhood near Havana. Many remain there today.
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