Monday, August 10, 2009

Cuban Health and Economic News

Via Don Surber, Daily Scoreboard Item 8.

Cuba must replace tractors with oxen
08/08/09 - Google Hosted News by Will Weissert (AP)

[edited] President Raul Castro suggested expanding a pilot program, giving private farmers fallow government land to cultivate.

"For this program we should forget about tractors and fuel, even if we had enough. The idea is to work basically with oxen. An increasing number of growers have been doing exactly this with excellent results."

The agricultural ministry proposed increasing the use of oxen to save fuel. Factory closings and turning off air conditioners at government offices has saved oil. The ministry said it had more than 265,000 oxen "capable of matching, and in some cases overtaking, machines in labor load and planting."

Cuba is running out of toilet paper
08/10/09 - Reuters by Nelson Acosta and Esteban Israel

[edited] An official with state conglomerate Cimex said: "The corporation has taken all the steps so that at the end of the year there will be an important importation of toilet paper."

The shipment will enable the state-run company "to supply this demand that today is presenting problems." Cuba both imports toilet paper and produces its own, but does not currently have enough raw materials to make it.

CNN reports Cuba is a model for a U.S. healthcare plan
08/10/09 - American Thinker by Humberto Fontova

[edited] The CNN report included clips from Michael Moore's "Sicko". CNN's Morgan Neill reported on location from a Havana hospital. "Cuba's infant mortality rates are the lowest in the hemisphere, in line with those of Canada!"

According to 2009 UN figures for infant mortality per 1000 live birtihs, Canada ranks 23rd best at 4.8, Cuba ranks 28th at 5.1, and The U.S. is 33rd with 6.3.  [My link and figures -ag]

Other statistics and reports question the truth of Cuba's rank.

  • According to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, the mortality rate of children aged one to four years is Cuba 11.8 vs U.S. 8.8, 34% higher.

    This statistic doesn't figure into UN and World Health Organization spotlighted "infant-mortality rates", so there is no pressure to fudge these figures.

  • Dr. Juan Felipe García, MD, of Jacksonville, Fla., in April 2001, interviewed several recent doctors who defected from Cuba:

    "The official Cuban infant-mortality figure is a farce. Cuban pediatricians constantly falsify figures for the regime. If an infant dies during its first year, the doctors often report he was older. Otherwise, such lapses could cost him severe penalties and his job."

  • The maternal mortality rate per 1000 births is Cuba 33 vs U.S. 8.4, 3.9 times the death.

The comparison to the U.S. is too strange. Many more Cuban mothers and children aged 1-4 die in Cuba, but the statistic reported to the UN for "infant mortality" (birth to 1 year) shows the same health as in much wealthier countries.

USA Healthcare is First - Infant Mortality is Low

Health statistics are intentionally misinterpreted to argue for socialized medicine. The major argument is that the US spends more than Europe, but lags behind in health outcomes. So, US healthcare is both expensive and inefficient.

Actually, the USA has better health.

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