Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Speaks on Family Doctors

FL160323 Havana Television Service in Spanish 0100 GMT 16 Oct 85

[Remarks made by President Fidel Castro at second national hygiene and
epidemiology congress held in Havana's Palace of Conventions, 15 October --

[Text] When we have 40,000 health workers, as they would be called, in this
activity, we would be spending, with current salaries, and we will have
this in the year 2000 or before [does not finish sentence] I calculate that
in 12 or 14 years we will have 20,000.  From 1988, we will be graduating
3,000 doctors a year.  From 1991 we will be graduating 3,500.  In 15 years,
between the years 1985 and 2000, we will graduate 50,000 doctors.  See if
we can do this or not.  Not only can we do this, but we will also loan some
services.  Around 170 million pesos [does not finish sentence].

I tell you the following: a single beer factory, one beer factory [does not
finish sentence].  The population lives to consume it and it is expensive.
Milk is cheap and beer is expensive. [laughter] Cigars are very expensive
because only by apostolic preaching will we reduce smoking. [laughter] With
one beer factory, its income [words indistinct] 40,000 workers, in a
socialist economy.  In a capitalistic economy the factory owner earns money
to go to New York, California; I do not know where.  Here, no one can take
a cent.  It stays here.  The people drink beer, hopefully not much, but one
in the afternoon.  I think that many of you have had some. [laughter] It
will not be very harmful.  The more illustrious specialists say that as
long as you do not exceed 80 cubic cm of alcohol a day, it can even be
healthy, that is in very [stresses the word very] small amounts. [laughter]
I have not heard the same said about smoking.

We know how money is distributed and how money is collected.  We know how
to distribute the wealth and to make it as just as possible. [words
indistinct] total because the communist society has not yet arrived, in
addition, that it reach everyone.  The wealth the country produces has to
be like oxygen.  It has to reach everyone.  Through these programs we
achieve this.  If this means increasing this plan, this concept of the
family doctor, it means increasing costs that will be incurred considering
the current income and assuming all of them will be specialists.

They start out as doctors.  They can begin specializing the first year.
There are nine specialties that have developed in our country.  General and
internal medicine have their programs.  It is strong in obstetrics,
pediatrics, podiatry, internal medicine, some hygienic elements,
psychiatry, and others.

If our health costs increase as education increases, I will tell you:
education costs are 1.6 billion [currency not specified], almost triple
that of health costs.  Of the social services what I value the most is
health.  That is number one.  It costs almost a third of education.  It
costs less than defense, even though defense costs less than education in
our country despite the fact that we feel obligated to have an enormous
defense for obvious reasons.  If they want to strangle us, squash us, or
make mincemeat out of us, we have to try and defend ourselves.  Do you
understand? [applause]