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Thursday, February 1st 2007

Why Does Cuba Have So Many Doctors?

As Slate explains, the answer isn’t very complex,

Well, because Castro said so. The Cuban constitution guarantees every inhabitant the “right to health protection and care.” After the revolution in 1959, half of the country’s 6,000 doctors fled the island. The new government promoted medical education as part of a national project to revamp the health-care system, and by 1984, Cuba had enough doctors to put a physician and a nurse in every neighborhood. Some will tell you Cubans become doctors because they believe in universal health care; others emphasize the social and economic rewards. (Doctor aren’t paid much, though—some make less than $40 a month.) Whatever their motivations, Cuba has more doctors per capita than any other country: 70,000 for a population of 11 million.

I cited a NY Times article on the Latin American School of Medical Science a while back, which trains physicians from around the Americas.