Sunday, December 27, 2009

Something's Not Right Here: an analysis of US Healthcare "reform" with Bill Moyers - Mat Taibbi - Robert Kuttner

"One year after the great collapse of our financial system, Wall Street is back on top while our politicians dither. As for health care reform, you're about to be forced to buy insurance from companies whose stock is soaring, and that's just dandy with the White House. Truth is, our capitol's being looted, republicans are acting like the town rowdies, the sheriff is firing blanks, and powerful Democrats in Congress are in cahoots with the gang that's pulling the heist. This is not capitalism at work. It's capital. Raw money, mounds of it, buying politicians and policy as if they were futures on the hog market.

Here to talk about all this are two journalists who don't pull their punches. Robert Kuttner is an economist who helped create and now co-edits the progressive magazine THE AMERICAN PROSPECT, and the author of the book OBAMA'S CHALLENGE, among others.
Also with me is Matt Taibbi, who covers politics for ROLLING STONE magazine where he is a contributing editor. He's made a name for himself writing in a no-holds-barred, often profane, but always informative and stimulating style that gets under the skin of the powerful. His most recent article is "Obama's Big Sellout," about the President's team of economic advisers and their Wall Street connections. It's been burning up the blogosphere. Welcome to both of you...."

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Exporting healthcare to Africa

Globalising healthcare: African medical students are training in Cuba [FAWTHROP]

In universities across Cuba, the next generation of African doctors are being trained on scholarships that may prove more valuable than any foreign aid package to their continent. When they graduate, the doctors will return home to treat patients in some of Africa's poorest countries, equipped with some of the best medical training in the world. Their education and training will not have cost them anything, and many say they plan to use their skills to help those too poor to pay for treatment. "I am from a very poor family in Eastern Cape," says Sydney Mankale Moroasale, a South African medical student currently studying at Cienfuegos University in Cuba. "People all around me were suffering. I said to myself 'Why couldn't I be the one to help them?' It was my dream to be a doctor."

A further 125 South African medical students study alongside Moroasale at Cienfuegos, while another 224 are enrolled in other Cuban universities. None of them would have been able to study medicine at all had it not been for the scholarship programmes. A total of 286 African doctors have graduated from Cuba since the first batch in 2005. After the 1959 revolution, Fidel Castro, the former Cuban president, pioneered the creation of a dynamic and comprehensive public health system which has been praised by the World Health Organization for providing free healthcare to all its citizens. Even doctors working in countries ideologically opposed to communist Cuba admit that the system works. "It is internationally known that medical standards are very high in Cuba, and medical training is very good," says Dr Arachu Castro, a Spanish specialist in social medicine at the Harvard Medical School.

[Visit Al Jazeera English here for more on Cuba's community-based approach to reversing the brain drain and globalizing healthcare]