December Green Time Shows Discuss Health Care in a Global Environment

by Don Fitz

It is possible to provide health care much more cheaply and with vastly smaller environmental effects than the US does. Cuba is rapidly becoming a model of how to accomplish this on an international level. While guaranteeing free health care to all of its citizens, Cuba sends brigades throughout the world to give medical assistance following disasters. Yet, it spends a fraction of what the US does on health care. And it has one of the lowest environmental footprints in the world. Green Time shows during December, 2013 feature discussions about Cuban, American and global medicine. All include portions of Salud! What Puts Cuba on the Map in the Quest for Global Health.

The first show focuses on the poor African country of Gambia, which would never be able to afford the expensive US approach to sickness. Don Fitz explains the Cuban model of primary and preventive health care, which is within the budgets of poor countries and highly effective at reducing disease. Zaki Baruti of the Universal African Peoples Organization looks at health care challenges in countries like Gambia, which is implementing Cuban ideas.

During the second show, Rebecca Fitz, a student at its Latin American School of Medicine, de-scribes Cuba’s history of sending doctors to dozens of countries before beginning its medical school in 1999. She explains Cuba’s “family doctor” system which focuses on the health of a neighborhood. For information about going to medical school in Cuba, google “Pastors for Peace.”

Each year, thousands of young people leave poor countries to practice medicine in rich coun-tries. This leaves people in their homeland without adequate care while there is a glut of doctors else-where. The third show features Zaki Baruti and Dr. Daniel Hellinger, of Webster University, discussing what that means for impoverished communities of Africa and Latin America. They look at the impact of Cuba’s sending doctors to poor countries in an attempt to reverse this brain drain.

In 1998, Hurricane Mitch ravaged Honduras. In addition to having an inadequate health care system, Honduras suffered from many of its doctors not wanting to go into impoverished areas. So, the government turned to Cuba for help. On December 28, Dr. Daniel Hellinger and Zaki Baruti discuss how conditions to receive international loans can force poor countries to abandon programs to protect their environment and the health of their citizens.

Green Time appears at noon on Saturdays in St. Louis on Channel 24-1 and at 8 pm on Mondays in St. Louis on Channel 24-2, Springfield on Channel 39, Joplin on Channel 36 and Marshfield on Channel 17. December Green Time programs air on Saturdays and Mondays on these dates:

  • December 7 & 9: “Global Health Care: Africa;”
  • December 14 & 16: “Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine;”
  • December 21 & 23: “The Brain Drain on Global Health;”
  • December 28 & 30: “International Loans vs. Health Care.”

Also see Green Time on greentime.tv. If you would like to help produce Green Time TV call 314-727-8554 or email don@greentime.tv.