Insights from Cuba: Primary care as the focus of COVID-19 prevention

Today our focus is on Cuba, a Caribbean island with about 11 million population and a very different economic and political regime. Canadians know Cuba well through their tourist visits – more than one million in 2019. Today, we are interested in a different facet of Cuban society – the community focus of its health system and their success, so far, in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. There are important insights for us in Ontario.

A home based model to confront COVID-19 – the case of the Balearic Islands

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A crucial question we face as we start thinking beyond the pandemic is what systemic factors have contributed to worsening its impacts, and which ones have mitigated them. I have expressed earlier RNAO’s concerns that an excessive hospital orientation within the health system in Ontario, and the neglect of community-based approaches, is most likely a factor that has aggravated the impacts in our province. Today I am profiling the way that the Balearic Islands, a province of Spain, has tackled COVID-19 with an innovative primary care and home-based approach.

COVID-19 and the challenges in homecare

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Today I am profiling one of the “forgotten,” but crucially important, health sectors: homecare. With hospitals geared to the pandemic, “decanting” less acute patients to their homes, and less able to attend to non-COVID conditions, homecare plays a central role in keeping persons in their homes and attending to their needs. However, like all community health services in our hospital-oriented health system, homecare is underfunded, neglected, and in pressing need of reform.