54 Cuban hospitals closed since 2010

Time of article published Oct 10, 2012

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Havana - Cuba said Tuesday it has closed 54 hospitals since 2010, a sign that recent drastic budget cuts are taking a toll on one of this Communist island's most prized achievements: its vaunted healthcare system.

Figures released by Cuba's National Office for Statistics and Information showed that the country now has one-fourth fewer hospitals that it had just two years ago, from 215 down to the current 161.

A reduction in the number of health clinics also has been pronounced, from 13 203 to 12 738.

The number of maternal clinics was slashed meanwhile from 10 to four, while 16 clinics in the countryside were either eliminated or consolidated.

Cuba - hoping to save its sinking economy as it tries to preserve its socialist principles - enacted reforms in October 2010 to bolster private enterprise while the regime slashes government jobs.

Officials said Cuba spends about 52 percent of its national budget on health, education and social security. - Sapa-AFP

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