People, Health and Social Services
trade embargo, polyclinics, social security system, unemployment compensation, advanced care
The quality of Cuban medical services was highly esteemed before 1959, but the majority of the population was limited in receiving services. Since then the government has extended health services throughout the island using polyclinics in neighborhoods and hospitals for treatment of serious injuries and illnesses. Health education is communicated in school and through the media. Sophisticated medical procedures are not available to everyone, leaving those who know important officials in better positions to receive advanced care than those without such connections.
From 1959 to 1989 medical care was good as evidenced by the low infant morality rate (about 8.1 per 1,000 live births) and the high life expectancy (about 75.7 years, up from 59.4 years in 1955). These trends have continued into the 21st century, although medicines have been in short supply since the USSR broke up. In addition, a trade embargo imposed by the United States on Cuba since the early 1960s has made receiving medicines difficult. The social security system provides for retirement, work disabilities, unemployment compensation, maternity care, and child-care centers.
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