HAVANA – Communist Party daily Granma reported Friday an excess of spending and personnel in Cuba’s health care sector, and announced that the ranks of health professionals would be thinned in some provinces.
Citing widespread overstaffing in health care, one-time pride of the 1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro, the newspaper said that in some areas the “work of optimizing human resources” has begun.
It also complained of the “disproportionate prescribing of medical diets, medicines, and diagnostic and therapeutic measures, as well as the reckless use of resources in warehouses and health-care institutions.”
“One great malaise of the current Cuban economy,” Granma said, “is the overstaffing found in most places, a flaw that brings with it other evils like the loss of motivation for work, low productivity and a lack of discipline.”
The daily said that a survey taken in the central province of Villa Clara showed a deficit of 401 employees in one area and at the same time an excess of 1,459 in another.
There was also a scarcity of equipment, reagents and medicines in pharmacies and health-care centers while they were described as “lying idle” in storehouses of the province.
“Irrational situations like these are what force the socialist state to pay, again and again, millions of pesos to acquire what we are incapable of conserving, distributing or controlling correctly,” Granma said.
The paper also criticized the fact that the Cuban health-care system “loses so much” each year, thanks to the “excessive handing out” of medicines and patient benefits.
The Villa Clara study showed that 38 percent of the applications for disability payments were “unwarranted,” Granma said.
Spending on health care and education consumes 60 percent of the Cuban government’s budget. EFE