Cuba: Medicine followed by tourism brings the highest revenue to Cuba

The 2016 Statistical Yearbook of Health reveals that Cuban professionals are in approximately 62 countries, 35 of which are changed by the Cuban government for their services.

After tourism, revenue from professional services, mainly medical services is the main source of foreign exchange for the country. Between 2011 to 2015, the country has generated an annual average revenue of USD11.54 billion.

Cuban health professionals are present in 24 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, 27 in Sub-Saharan Africa, two in Middle East and North Africa and seven from East Asia and the Pacific. The country does not have the accurate number of professionals involved however, estimates by Ministry of Health show that by mid-2015 there were more than 50,000 professionals with half of them being doctors.

Venezuela and Brazil are the most important markets in Latin America and Caribbean islands. The important markets include Qatar, Kuwait, China, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. Revenue from Cuba’s largest trading partner, Venezuela for medical services was USD2.8 billion in 2016. The island also offers free services through the Integral Health Program for 27 countries with fewer resources, such as Haiti, Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Ethiopia, Congo, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

In 2016 Cuba had 90,161 doctors, including those working abroad. Along with free education, the Cuba has universal healthcare system with the Cuban state financing the health system. A total of 493,368 people work in the healthcare system including 16,852 dentists, 89,072 nurses and 63,471 technicians. The island also conducts training of doctors from other nations in the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM).

El Espectador

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