Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It Costs

It Costs / Regina Coyula
Posted on April 22, 2014

All the hospitals I've visited lately have put up some eye-catching
posters: "Your health service is free, but it costs." I've seen these
relating to ophthalmology, surgery, orthopedics, dentistry, and I
recently saw a generic one for the Institutes. Then they enumerated a
list of services, from the simplest and least inexpensive to complex
procedures costing thousands of pesos.

For the citizen who made several unsuccessful visits before finally
receiving a medical consultation after a long wait; for the person whose
hospital admission is like moving day, having to take a tub and heater
for bathing, a fan, a lamp, insecticide, and the major part of the food
in the house; for the man resigned to the unwritten law that in order to
receive appropriate health care he has to provide something extra,
snacks for each shift, cigarettes for the nurse, a little "gratuity" to
facilitate the ultrasound or the analysis—this colorful wall poster is
nothing but propaganda. Propaganda and a neutralizer. It doesn't cost
you, so don't complain.

(And I'm not saying whether it costs, with the pseudo-salaries and
inflated prices.)

I admire the skill and dedication of the doctors, but the excellent
service that we were promised as "medical power"—not because of the
number of physicians per capita (although you can find that in the
Amazon or in northeastern Brazil), but because of the quality of health
service as a whole—was lost along the way. And no one can convince any
Cuban that the fault is due to the blockade and the imperialist threat.

During a wait of over an hour for a scheduled appointment (visible
through a window in public view) with of an employee whose function is
to deliver laboratory results, a young man who decided to lie down on a
bench and sleep through the wait—with that grace Cubans have for taking
the edge off any situation—in front of one of the afore-mentioned signs,
caused all of us who were waiting to laugh: The public health costs us,
but because it's free …

21 April 2014

Source: It Costs / Regina Coyula | Translating Cuba -

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