US should be emulating Cuba’s healthcare system, not trying to destroy it‏

Why is the United States waging perpetual war against the Cuban people’s health system?
by William Blum

In January the government of the United States of America saw fit to seize $4.207 million in funds allocated to Cuba by the United Nations Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for the first quarter of 2011, Cuba has charged. The UN Fund is a $22 billion a year program that works to combat the three deadly pandemics in 150 countries. 3

“This mean-spirited policy,” the Cuban government said, “aims to undermine the quality of service provided to the Cuban population and to obstruct the provision of medical assistance in over 100 countries by 40,000 Cuban health workers.” Most of the funds are used to import expensive AIDS medication to Cuba, where anti-retroviral treatment is provided free of charge to some 5,000 HIV patients. 4

The United States sees the Cuban health system and Havana’s sharing of such as a means of Cuba winning friends and allies in the Third World, particularly Latin America; a situation sharply in conflict with long-standing US policy to isolate Cuba. The United States in recent years has attempted to counter the Cuban international success by dispatching the US Naval Ship “Comfort” to the region. With 12 operating rooms and a 1,000-bed hospital, the converted oil tanker has performed hundreds of thousands of free surgeries in places such as Belize, Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Nicaragua and Haiti.

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1 reply on “US should be emulating Cuba’s healthcare system, not trying to destroy it‏”

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is an independent international financing institution which works closely with UN agencies as partners, but it is not part of the UN system per se.

The Global Fund does not implement programs directly but relies on stakeholders in-country to select and appoint a Principal Recipient of Global Fund grants. In Cuba, the Principal Recipient is UNDP. UNDP requested that funds for Cuba grants be transferred to a US Bank account. According to US bank regulations, special licenses are needed to transfer funds to Cuba, so the bank held the monies (it was not the US government that seized the monies as this article states).

The Global Fund has already requested the special licenses needed and the monies to Cuba were released at the beginning of May. The special license is valid for the entire time that the grants to Cuba will last, therefore this problem will not occur again. Life-saving treatment for those who need it were not interrupted during the time that this problem was being solved.

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