Friday, June 25, 2004

Cuba: Doctors for foreign exchange penalizes sick Cubans

HAVANA, June 12 (Ernesto Roque Cintero / -The 10 medical dispensaries attached to the Pablo de la Torriente sugar mill in Bahía Honda, Pinar del Río province, have been closed since the doctors that used to work in them were shipped off to Venezuela to assist in a joint Cuban-Venezuelan government program.

The closings affect some 15,000 residents of Bahía Honda. "We have to travel up to 13 kilometers (8 miles), the lines at the polyclinic are very long, and there are only two doctors who work 24-hour shifts each. The last time I was there, there were approximately 50 patients waiting for one of them, Dr. Osmany Domínguez", said Abigail García, a local resident. "We don't even have a dentist", she said.

García said that in some of the dispensaries, and cited the one at I and 52 Streets, the nurse has been kept on, but is not seeing patients. "I imagine they kept her sitting there, collecting a salary, so that homeless people don't move in, as has happened at some of the closed offices".


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