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Green Time TV: Health Care in Cuba: Lower Cost and Environmental Protection

on Mon, 04/02/2012 - 10:52am

by Don Fitz

Can poor countries get quality health care without the expense and  environmental damage of a US health care model?  It is impossible for them to afford the massive buildings and parking lots that characterize US insurance companies and sickness institutions. But Cuba, has a life expectancy equal to the US at a fraction of the cost.

Green Time TV shows during April explore the health care model developed in Cuba and how it is spreading to South America and Africa.  For the April 7 show, Daniel Hellinger of Webster University interviews Don Fitz, who has visited several Cuban health care facilities. They discuss the country’s “primary health care” focus on preventive care.  This includes placing “family doctors” in every neighborhood so residents can walk to their medical care provider. 

On April 14, they switch roles with Don Fitz interviewing Daniel Hellinger, whose special area of study is Venezuela.  Venezuela is the first country to follow the Cuban model of public health on a massive scale.  But there are enormous differences between the two countries which makes Venezuela’s Barrio Adentro program distinct.  Though “family doctors” are as important as in Cuba, Venezuelan Health Committees play a central role in implementing reforms.

But not everything is smooth going with Barrio Adentro.  Problems include lack of a clear budget,  Venezuela’s high crime rate, and deterioration at some clinics.

Adequate health care is woefully lacking throughout much of Africa. Consequently, over three dozen African countries have  sent students to study medicine in Cuba or have Cuban doctors staffing their own health care programs.  On April 21, Don Fitz and Zaki Baruti of the Universal African Peoples Organization discuss public care challenges to African countries like Gambia, which is implementing the Cuban model.  Baruti highlights the poverty and absence of basic services which contribute to the health crisis in Africa.

These three shows all feature portions of Salud! What Puts Cuba on the Map in the Quest for Global Health. The fourth show includes footage of Ben Wuloo Ikari describing how oil spills in his native Nigeria ravage the environment, leading to health problems.  Guests Zaki Baruti and Safiyah Chauvin of the African Heritage Youth Organization discuss environmental crises in the Congo, Zimbabwe  and Libya that result from Western business activity.

Green Time now airs on KNLC stations in four Missouri areas.  It appears at noon on Saturdays in St. Louis on Channel 24-1 and at 8 pm on Mondays in St. Louis on  Channel 24-2, Springfield on Channel 39, Joplin on Channel 36 and Marshfield on Channel 17.

April Green Time programs address international health and environmental issues on these dates:

·                 Saturday,        April 7 & Monday, April 9: “Global Health Care: Cuba;”

·                 Saturday,        April 14 & Monday, April 16: “Global Health Care: Venezuela”

·                 Saturday,        April 21 & Monday, April 23: “Global Health Care: Gambia;”

·                 Saturday,        April 28 & Monday, April 30: “Oil Spills & the Plunder  of Africa.”

If you would like to help produce Green Time TV call 314-727-8554 Or email