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Green Time TV: What Can Cuba Tell Us about Health and the Environment?

on Wed, 02/13/2013 - 4:04pm

by Don Fitz

Cuba both provides free health care for all of its citizens and sends more brigades than any other country to help with disasters in other parts of the world.It does so while spending a fraction of what the US does on health care.And it has one of the lowest environmental footprints in the world.Green Time shows during March, 2013 feature discussions about Cuban, American and global medicine.All shows feature portions of Salud! What Puts Cuba on the Map in the Quest for Global Health.

During the first show, Rebecca Fitz, a student at its Latin American School of Medicine, describes Cuba’s history of sending doctors to dozens of countries before beginning its medical school in 1999.She explains Cuba’s“family doctor” system which focuses on the health of a neighborhood.For information about going to medical school in Cuba, google “Pastors for Peace.”

Each year, thousands of young people leave poor countries to practice medicine in rich countries.This leaves people in their homeland without adequate care while there is a glut of doctors elsewhere.The second show features Zaki Baruti, of the Universal African Peoples Organization, and Dr. Daniel Hellinger, of WebsterUniversity, discussing what that means for impoverished communities of Africa and Latin America.They look at the impact of Cuba’s sending doctors to poor countries in an attempt to reverse this brain drain.

In 1998, Hurricane Mitch ravaged Honduras.In addition to having an inadequate health care system, Honduras suffered from many of its doctors not wanting to go into impoverished areas.So, the government turned to Cuba for help.On March 16, Dr. Daniel Hellinger and Zaki Baruti discuss how conditions to receive international loans can force poor countries to abandon programs to protect their environment and the health of their citizens.

During the last two shows, Mimi Signor, of Missourians for Single Payer, and Rev. Vickie Caldwell, of LaneTabernacle CMEChurch, address immediate options for the US.Single payer advocates will not give up until all Americans have access to adequate, satisfactory and appropriate health care based on need, rather than personal wealth. Health care should be equal and equitable, whereby no socio-economic group is discriminated against. Inequality in health care is the most shocking and inhumane form of injustice.

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.

March Green Time programs air on Saturdays, Mondays & Wednesdays on these dates:

·March 2, 4 & 6: “Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine;”

·March 9, 11 & 13: “The Brain Drain on Global Health;”

·March 16, 18 & 20: “International Loans vs. Health Care;”

·March 23, 25 & 27: “Crisis in US Health Care.”

·March 30, April 1 & 3: “Global Health Dilemmas.”

Also see Green Time on and you would like to help produce Green Time TV call 314-727-8554 or email