Tag Archives: Destinations

Cuba – A Major Destination for Medical Tourism

Most people don’t know that Cuba is a major destination for medical tourism; they usually think of India or other countries when they are looking for top quality medical care at competitive prices far below those of the U.S. However, Cuba has top-notch doctors and medical personnel as well as state of the art medical and rehabilitation facilities in a beautiful tropical climate at extremely affordable prices.

Medical tourism has been a $40 million a year business for Cuba since the 1980s. Nearly 20,000 patients made Cuba their destination in 2005 in order to get high quality, affordable medical care for conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, orthopedic surgery and eye surgery. Many of them were from Latin America and Europe, choosing Cuba for treatment of retinitis pigmentosa, or night blindness. Foreign patients and diplomats are treated in special hospitals which cater to medical tourism, often with luxurious accommodations as well as caregivers with impeccable credentials and decades of experience.

One of the reasons that Cuba has such superior medical care and undercuts other nations’ prices lies in their national healthcare system. In the 1950s it had more doctors per thousand citizens than most prominent European countries but only 8% of rural citizens had access to them. In solving this problem the government decided to institute health care services in rural areas and offered enticements to providers to practice there. Eventually this evolved into a national health care system for every citizen, overseen by the minister of health.

This health care system has resulted in an average life expectancy of 77.7 years, one of the highest in the region. This has been achieved through proactive programs to promote preventative health such as nutritional education, access to healthy foods at affordable prices and preventative care. Cuba accepts and practices alternative medicines like acupuncture, homeopathy, natural dietary supplements, and yoga. Children in primary school study medicinal plants and how to grow them in a class garden, conducting scientific tests and learning their uses. Cuban biochemists study alternative medicine and actively work to develop new natural treatments. For instance, they’ve found a way to reduce total cholesterol by using derivatives from sugarcane wax and mango tree bark.

This innovative health care system and underlying proactive programs is what often sways medical tourists to choose Cuba. Rather than costly drugs to support their conditions, patients can take advantage of the results of Cuban research facilities that might have developed a natural therapy for their malady. If conventional drug therapy is called for it is eminently more affordable than in other countries.

The Health Ministry is also instituting a computerized national network of blood banks and their inventory that is updated in real time. Cuba is only the second country in the world to have computerized organization of all of the medical imaging and nephrology facilities. They are currently working on a computerized health register, medical genetic projects, neurosciences, etc. in order to make information between physicians and hospitals more accessible. This means better medical care for both Cubans and medical tourists.

What’s Your Destination?

When traveling from one location to another, your destination is determined by your set direction. If you live in Los Angeles and your destination is New York, then your direction needs to be east. If you’re on the East Coast and you want to get to the West Coast then your direction needs to be west.

This may seem to be very obvious, and it is, but it is also very true with where our lives are headed. Your goals, dreams, and desires are your destinations. But you can only arrive there if you are headed in the direction that will take you there.

Just as wishing and hoping to be in L.A. while you are in New York doesn’t get you there, so, too, wishing and hoping for your goals and dreams to come to pass does not bring them into your life.

Suppose your desire in life is to be a best selling author. Well, what are you doing to point yourself in that direction? Is there anything that you do on a daily basis that is pointing you in that direction? How about weekly?

You have to honestly ask yourself if your daily and weekly activities are taking you where you want to go. For example, have you written a book? Have you started to write a book? Do you have a file with notes that could be used for a book?

Are you learning how to develop writing skills? Are you reading books in the genre you’d like to write in? Have you talked to someone who has written a book?

If there is nothing going on in your life that is pointing to your “destination,” then perhaps it’s time to re-group and decide what you truly do desire in life. It is very important to be clear on your goals and dreams.

Not having clear goals is like driving from L.A. excited about going to New York, but getting distracted along the way somewhere in Colorado. The next thing you know, you leave Colorado and head south for Texas. But what happened to New York?

If you want to reach your destination, you need to focus clearly on that destination. The same is true for your goals and desires. Here’s a good point to consider. Are they truly your goals and desires? Is it really your destination? Is it really what you desire for your life?

If it’s not, you will never fully believe in it. You will have mental resistance to it, and you will struggle trying to see it happen. You will not be focused on that destination.

Your goals, dreams, and visions have to be yours.

And, you can’t just sit in a corner all day long waiting for the doorbell to ring. Are you just waiting to answer the door to find someone there who hands you your accomplished goals and desires?

It’s important to examine your daily and weekly activities to see if the things you are doing are keeping you in the right direction by moving you closer to your desired destination. In other words, your actions should keep you pointed toward your desired destination.

In addition, you need to check and see if there is anything working contrary or counterproductive to what you desire. For example, you might not want to spend a lot of time with people who would be critical of your dreams. You might not want to read or hear negatives about publishing a book.

Always make sure, first of all, that your destination is truly where you desire to go. And finally, stay focused, persistent, and confident.