Journal of
Public Health and Epidemiology

  • Abbreviation: J. Public Health Epidemiol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2316
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPHE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 655


Insights from Cuba's public health achievements: Implications for African countries

Aly Dramé
  • Aly Dramé
  • Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Fellow, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 21 February 2024
  •  Accepted: 25 March 2024
  •  Published: 30 April 2024


Cuba's health system has enabled remarkable population health achievements despite resource limitations. This analysis explores Cuba's model to discern insights for healthcare reform in developing nations seeking to enhance access and equity. A scoping review was conducted to synthesize existing literature on Cuba's health system post-1959 revolution. Policy documents were analyzed to trace systemic reforms. Quantitative data was examined to assess health indicators over time. Following the revolution, Cuba constitutionally entrenched healthcare as a universal right and implemented extensive reforms to promote equity. Strategic emphasis on prevention-oriented community-based primary care, medical education expansion, and building domestic biomedical capabilities enabled major gains, as evidenced by indicators like infant mortality rate declining from 46 to 4.3/1000 live births between 1960 and 2016. However, contemporary challenges remain around demographic shifts, infrastructure, and financing sustainability. Cuba's model demonstrates that with political commitment to health equity and strategic investments in public systems, remarkable improvements are feasible even with constrained resources. Components like equitable access, robust primary care, localized innovation, and social medicine principles remain relevant for developing countries seeking pro-poor reforms. However, adaptations are required based on specific contexts.

Key words: Cuba, health system reform, universal