Amid the worst Ebola outbreak of our time, it has been the small island nation of Cuba that has provided arguably the most impressive policy response.  Instead of offering financial assistance to those West African nations most in need, the Cuban government has focused on providing skilled healthcare workers passionate about helping Ebola victims. The Cuban response is based on a combination of pre-existing government commitments to the provision of universal healthcare, the establishment of a medical education system emphasizing service to others, and Cuba’s efforts to bolster its international reputation.

Health diplomacy

Cuba’s government has a long history of providing universal healthcare as a human right, a belief that was enshrined in the 1976 constitution.

Cuban doctors were dispatched to Haiti following the 2010 quake and helped fight the cholera outbreak there

Cuban doctors have been sent to Brazil to provide healthcare in remote rural areas with little medical care

Consequently, it has always been committed to helping other nations in need, extending the government’s policy beliefs beyond its borders.

These efforts were partly inspired by Ernesto Che Guevara, the Argentine-born doctor who fought alongside Fidel Castro during the Cuban revolution.

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