Where No Doctor Has Gone Before
Cuba’s Place in the Global Health Landscape
Paper 222 pp.
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Tens of thousands of people around the world die each day from causes that could have been prevented with access to affordable health care resources. In an era of unprecedented global inequity, Cuba, a small, low-income country, is making a difference by providing affordable health care to millions of marginalized people.
Cuba has developed a world-class health care system that provides universal access to its own citizens while committing to one of the most extensive international health outreach campaigns in the world. The country has trained thousands of foreign medical students for free under a moral agreement that they serve desperate communities. To date, over 110,000 Cuban health care workers have served overseas.
Where No Doctor Has Gone Before looks at the dynamics of Cuban medical internationalism to understand the impact of Cuba’s programs within the global health landscape. Topics addressed include the growing moral divide in equitable access to health care services, with a focus on medical tourism and Cuba’s alternative approach to this growing trend. Also discussed is the hidden curriculum in mainstream medical education that encourages graduates to seek lucrative positions rather than commit to service for the marginalized. The author shows how Cuba’s Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (ELAM) serves as a counter to this trend.
An acknowledgement of Cuba’s tremendous commitment, the book reveals a compelling model of global health practice that not only meets the needs of the marginalized but facilitates an international culture of cooperation and solidarity.
Robert Huish is an assistant professor at Dalhousie University in the Department of International Development Studies. He has published widely on how development strategies, notably through health care and sport education programs in Cuba, have worked to transform conditions of poverty and sub-development throughout the global South. He teaches courses on global health, poverty and human rights, and pedagogies of activism for development.
“Robert Huish’s Where No Doctor Has Gone Before: Cuba’s Place in the Global Health Landscape is a powerful broadside against the enormous international inequities in access to health care, not just ignored but furthered by wealthy countries.... It is an astonishing idea that a country with the population of Ontario and an economy less than one sixth of Ontario’s should provide such an outsized share of all international medical aid. The idea gets as little attention as it does largely because of the influence of the Cuban exile community in the swing state of Florida, and the consequent debt of all recent American presidents, hawks and doves, to the Florida voter. Hence the never-ending embargo.... [T]he central point of this fine work is crucially important: in a time of unprecedented disparity in global health outcomes, and while the International Monetary Fund insists on curtailing public health spending as one of the first steps in its oft-prescribed austerity measures, it is in the interest of countries that can help to help. The people who see this the clearest, are inevitably, the ones who are closest to that place of needing help. As it is with countries, so it is with individuals.”
— Kevin Patterson, Literary Review of Canada
“A strong addition to health care politics collections, much recommended.”
— Midwest Book Review