Saturday, February 3, 2007

The Cuban Abortion Scheme Debunked (Part 5)

It is well known that Cuba offers such universal services, but in 1995 and subsequent years, Cuba made increased efforts to address the health of newborns and mothers. Cuba's "Programa de Atención Materno Infantil" (The Mother and Child Plan) is considered by the online publication MEDICC Review (Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba) as perhaps "one of the most important [national programs] within the Cuban health system". An observational study in Havana (Cerro district) conducted in 2000 by Stephanie Bernal from California State University at San Bernardino, highlighted the many dimensions of the Mother and Child Plan. She writes that "[t]his program places a special emphasis on the needs of pregnant women, newborns, and children. Bernal argues that "[b]etter data collection methods and research" and increased services have led the way in improved health statistics for newborns and mothers. "The average number of prenatal visits per woman increased from 17.2 in 1992, to 23.6 in 1996", says Bernal citing numbers from PAHO, and that "[p]renatal screenings are free of charge and include glycemia, urine, vaginal, and ultrasound tests."

In 2005, Jelka Zupan from the World Health Organization (WHO) wrote that "[t]he barriers to appropriate maternity care are not insurmountable. The cost, for example, is moderate, and some poor countries have proved that it is affordable." Cuba's Mother and Child Plan is one example of how Cuban health care has met the appropriate needs of maternity care. In a case of unintended irony, the WHO World Health Report of that year stated that improvements to children's health in the developing world "requires a cultural revolution among health workers to start working with households and communities as partners, and to look at children as children, and not merely as a collection of diseases."

[Part 6]

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