203485 Health Care for Older People in Cuba

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 3:05 PM

Laurence Branch, PhD , College of Public Health/FMHI, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Before Castro came to power in Cuba 50 years ago, Cubans had high infant mortality rates, illiteracy was widespread, and primary care was often not available to the poor. Subsequent to the revolution, Cuban public policies addressed those three areas in particular. Remarkable successes were achieved with minimal resources, demonstrating what a strong national resolve can accomplish. The next major challenge facing Cuba is to provide appropriate skilled care to those frail elders who cannot take care of themselves. Resources are still as scare as they were 50 years ago, but the national resolve seems to be as strong. Primary care teams consisting of a doctor and a nurse are provided in the communities throughout urban and rural areas. A network of referral care is availblel to the primary care teams that includes geriatric specialists. Hospital care is extremely limited by the standards of US care, exaccerbated by the lack of financial resources that has plagued Cuba during the entire tenure of Castro. Long-term care is mixed. There are shinning examples of community based adult day treatment centers in Cuba, with a strong emphasis on treatment. Residential long-term care is limited, but those long-term care residential facilties that do exist are working to improve the quality of life of their residents.

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of this presenation, participants will be able to: 1. Identify the primary healthcare system in place for elders in Cuba. 2. Describe the specialized healthcare available to elders in Cuba. 3. Discuss the strengths and weakenesses of the current health care system in Cuba.

Keywords: International Systems, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have published peer reviewed articles on the Cuban Health Care System for Elders, and have co-authored a text book on Primary Care in Cuba.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.