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Context of 'March 22, 1982: US Congressional Report Notes Cuba’s Successes in Education and Health Care'

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US Congress approves plans to construct a defense facility on the island of Diego Garcia in the Chagos Archipelago. (British Royal Courts of Justice 10/9/2003)

Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health establishes rules and standards on health care for women, infants, and young children. The rules make infant health and the reproductive health of women the country’s top health priorities. The ministry’s rules specify the minimum number of prenatal examinations and consultations for pregnant women and require that all pregnant women receive education on hygiene, health during pregnancy, childbirth, and child care. They are also to receive psychological counseling and instruction in birth exercises. When women miss appointments or educational lectures, doctors are instructed to go to their homes. Additionally, the ministry’s rules state that all childbirth must take place in hospitals, where women and their new babies will typically stay for four or five days. By the mid-1980s, prenatal care provided to Cuban women will far exceed the medical norms of most industrialized countries. (Feinsilver 1993, pp. 48-49) The ministry also issues specifications for the care of infants and children, requiring that doctors conduct a certain number of check-ups every year. By 1989, the average number of well-baby visits per year will be 11. (Feinsilver 1993, pp. 53) Author Julie Feinsilver notes that Cuba’s commitment to prenatal and infant care is cost-effective in the long-term. “These children experience less illness, require less curative medical care, and possess greater potential for development and educational achievement, which lead to greater work capacity and higher productivity.” (Feinsilver 1993, pp. 51)

Cuba’s public health ministry launches an education campaign promoting physical fitness as part of an effort to combat negative health conditions associated with sedentary lifestyles. (Feinsilver 1993, pp. 71)

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) representative in Cuba states that “there is no question that Cuba has the best health statistics in Latin America.” (Chomsky 1993, pp. 151)

A study prepared for the Congressional Joint Economic Committee acknowledges Cuba’s successes in education and health care. “[T]he Cuban revolution has managed social achievements, especially in education and health care, that are highly respected in the Third World…. [These include] establishment of a national health care program that is superior in the Third World and rivals that of numerous developed countries,” the report says. (US Congress 3/22/1982, pp. 5; Feinsilver 1993, pp. 81-5)


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