Cuba Juntos 2023

We went to Cuba in October with 5 community nurses from Buurtzorg, 6 general practitioners in training and 5 geriatric medicine specialists in training. To see for ourself and experience how healthcare works there. And how collective prevention is organized and deployed. There is a lot of attention for this in Cuba. We stayed in a casa particular in Havana for 4 weeks.

Through the LUMC we followed 3 months, one day a week, of interprofessional education in Leiden. We will conclude this process on November 30 with a final symposium.

Cuba is a country where the community nurse literally does her consultation hours next to the GP, as became clear when we walked along for a day. Together they are the hub of Cuban healthcare. There is hardly any hierarchy.

For example, the general practitioner lives above his own practice, has 800-1000 patients and makes his visits on foot through the neighborhood. The confidence patients have in him was visible.
Our Cuban colleagues do not wash their buttocks, informal caregivers, usually family, do that. The community nurse, in addition to carrying out technical nursing actions, is mainly instructing, advising and supporting.

We also attended many lectures. Have visited outpatient clinics, specialized hospitals and a nursing university. Went to a casa de abuelos, participated in tai chi by elderly people on the street. Elderly people are very physically active through these exercise groups. And there are many initiatives to increase contacts between the elderly.

It was an interesting, varied, educational and full program.

And of course we went out on weekends. Seen a lot, from Viñales to the tropical Bay of Pigs. Just relaxing so that we could get back to work on our assignments on Monday.It is special to be able to watch and listen for a month in a country where the economic crisis is rampant. We saw how people could barely afford to eat and how wages were unbelievably low, with a community nurse earning 17 euros per month. But the warmth and salsa radiated palpably.

If you would like to hear more about the healthcare system in Cuba, our story, our assignments and the take-home messages, please register via the link below for the final symposium on November 30, which can be followed online.

Adios, Anne Elsinghorst, Hanneke Broere, Luc Buitinck, Marja Veltman and Auk van Weperen

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