November 4, 2016
A Strong Public Healthcare System through an Independent Foreign Policy
Health Alliance for Democracy, together with the People’s Health Movement, Community Medicine Foundation Inc. (COMMED), All UP Workers Union, All UP Academic Employees Union and Amistad, welcome Cuban Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Ibete Hernandez-Fernandez and colleagues. In a forum titled Kaya ng Pinas held at the University of the Philippines Manila, HEAD Secretary-General Dr. Joseph Carabeo said that we are “lucky to have this rare opportunity for Cubans to share their country’s experience in achieving a public healthcare system that serves the entirety of their population.”
“It’s time that we learn more about how their world-renowned excellent health and social services wereborne out of their struggle for independence and socialist development. Moreover, it is truly inspiring to know Cubans have protected, preserved and sustained these fruits by strong political will amidst decades of US embargo. This alone should impel us to think and realize kaya natin (we can do it!) especially in light of the recent and repeated pronouncements of President Duterte that he will sever ties with the US,” added Dr. Carabeo.
“President Duterte’s push for an independent foreign policy is unprecedented, and we see this as an opportunity to finally break free from the clutches of US imperialist control.” Dr. Carabeo also stressed out the need to break free not only from military control thru the EDCA and the VFA, but also from the IMF-WB-WTO dictates and the “usually secretive and lopsided” regional and bilateral trade agreements like TPP and RCEP that further institutionalizes the neoliberal policies of liberalization, privatization and deregulation. “We are witnesses as to how we have been thrown into abject poverty and ill health, and (how these policies) have produced for us a backward, costly, unresponsive healthcare system,” he adds.
Cuba’s self-reliant healthcare system is a product of a planned, socially oriented and state-subsidized health education and a scientific and need-based health research. “Cuba is also respected throughout the world because of their solidarity with third world countries, especially their deployed health personnel, a stark contrast to the exodus of our doctors and nurses for better pay and working conditions. Cuba has helped a number of poor countries not only to rise from disasters but also to help establish a progressive healthcare system,” Carabeo adds.
“Only through our own fervent struggles complemented with solidarity can our dream of a free, progressive and comprehensive care be a reality,” concluded Dr. Carabeo.