Philippines to adopt Cuban health model


Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial on Thursday proposed adoption of a new paradigm to address the so-called triple burden–tropical diseases, non-communicable diseases and modern-day diseases–that the country is facing.

Ubial told AIDS Association of the Philippines celebrating its 20th year that President Rodrigo Duterte himself wanted to try the Cuban model to alleviate the health system of the country.

The Health department’s initial goal, according to her, was one doctor per barangay (village) but found the target is not feasible because the country does not produce enough doctors.

The number of doctors produced in the Philippines is similar to that of Cuba but the population of Cuba is only around 11 million, or about one-tenth of that of the Philippines.

“We are ten times behind the Cuban model,” Ubial said.

She added that money is another problem facing the goal of having a doctor per barangay and so they would settle for one health worker per village.

This alternative, Ubial said, is possible if nurses are utilized but it will cost the country about P31 billion to hire around 30,000 nurses.

The Cuban model boasts of one doctor per 1,075 persons.

The country has one midwife attending to 4 to 5 villages and one doctor per municipality.

Meanwhile, Ubial urged the public to support the DOH’s battle slogan ACHIEVE that enjoins “All for Health Toward Health for All.”

ACHIEVE means Advanced primary care and quality; Cover all Filipinos with National Health Insurance; Harness the power of strategic human resources for Health; Invest in digital health and data for decision-making;
Enforced standards, accountability and transparency; Value clients and patients; and Elicit multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder support for health.


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  1. Cuba did not privatize all the public hospitals like the previous administration did in the Philippines.

  2. this is good news. hope this will happen sooner. the shortage of doctors can be solve by making medical students required to serve in the rural areas during part of their internships before graduating. in addition to this the nurses can do consultation of non serious ailments plus the internet now can also help by consultation with photos of medical problems provided it is again not a serious illness and required to see doctors or nurses if more detailed evaluation of patient is needed. provided there is internet in the area and of course the patient have access to computer. other sources for doctors and nurses will be the government should ask for volunteers from the community retired doctors and nurses can work volunteer part time basis. Lastly we really have to educated everybody especially the poor on family planning. over population affects basic services like health care and is already happenng.

  3. teodoro m reynoso on

    Could also be the secret to the high competitiveness of Cubans in sport events.