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October 2021

J Fam Pract. 1997 Sep; 45(3): 250-8.

Primary care in Cuba: low- and high-technology developments pertinent to family medicine.

Waitzkin H, Wald K, Kee R, Danielson R, Robinson L.

Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of New Merico, Albuquerque 87131, USA. [email protected]

Cuba's accomplishments in primary care, while controversial, include several developments pertinent to family medicine. These accomplishments involve low-technology and organizational innovations such as neighborhood-based family medicine as the focus of primary care; regionalized systems of hospital services and professional training; innovative public health initiatives and epidemiologic surveillance; universal access to services without substantial barriers related to race, social class, gender, and age; and active programs in treatments such as "green medicine" and "thermalism." High-technology achievements include innovations in pharmacology and biotechnology, surgical procedures, and care of patients infected by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Limited access to Cuban publications, impediments to presentations by Cuban health care professionals at professional meetings, and the prohibition on importing products of Cuban biotechnology to the United States inhibit a detached, scientific appraisal of Cuba's accomplishments. Cuba's isolation from the US clinical and research communities has prevented interchanges that would improve primary care services in both countries.

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