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Cuba’s Health System: A Pioneer

Nov 17, 2016


In the decades since the success of the 1959 Cuban Revolution, that small island has gained a global reputation for its pioneering health system. Although Cuba’s GDP is only a fraction of that of the U.S., the island has a lower infant mortality rate and has among the highest life expectancy and doctor-patient ratios in the world. What factors account for the success of medicine and public health in Cuba?

In early November HAI was proud to cosponsor with the UW Department of Global Health a visit from Dr. Enrique Beldarrain Chaple, a medical historian from Cuba. Dr. Beldarrain is the Chief of the Research Department at the Cuban National Information Center of Medical Sciences and a Professor of Public Health and the History of Medicine at the National School of Public Health.  He spent a week in Seattle meeting with a range of faculty, staff and students at UW as well as the Seattle-Cuba Friendship Society.  On November 10 he presented a university-wide lecture describing the public health system in Cuba.  That lecture can be seen at this link:

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Our Mission

Our mission is to promote policies and support programs that strengthen government primary health care and foster social, economic, and health equity for all. Our vision is a just world that promotes health and well-being, including universal access to quality health care.

Our History

Health Alliance International began in 1987 as a US-based international solidarity organization committed to supporting the public sector provision of health care for all.  Over 35 years, HAI conducted programs in 17 countries, with flagship programs in Mozambique, Côte d'Ivoire, and Timor-Leste.

Our Evolution

In line with HAI’s commitment to support and strengthen local public health leadership, as of October 2021, HAI fully transitioned global operations and active programs to locally-based, locally-led NGOs. Learn more about this shift toward local autonomy and equity in global health.

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