Cuba has without argument the best national healthcare system in Latin
America, and one of the best in the world. Cuban citizens do not have
to pay for medical treatment or drugs. A great majority of the population
are covered by the Family Doctor program whereby they have an easily accessible
personal physician in their immediate neighbourhood. However, due to the
loss of some 80 per cent of Cuba's foreign trade after 1989 and the contraction
of its economy by about 35 per cent, some serious problems arose in the
public health system. These problems were significantly intensified by
the U.S. economic blockade. Nevertheless, the Cuban people, as always,
were resourceful and were able to prevent a complete collapse of the system.
Despite a difficult situation, the age of life expectancy has continued
to rise well into the mid-seventies, and infant mortality is as low as
in most highly developed countries.
Travelers to Cuba require no particular immunizations, and usually the
worse one can expect is a rare brief diarrhea from change of environment,
food and water. Drinking bottled water is advised and it is readily available.
However, expert care is available for any contingency. All hotels have
medical staff on hand, and hospital care is usually not far away. Should
the need arise for medical evacuation of a visitor, Cuban authorities
can make timely arrangements for transfers and flights. Cubalinda.com
offers a wide range of local medical services designed for foreigners
and used by Cubans as well. Spas and medicinal baths are also available.