Cuba is frequently cited as an example of a country which has great healthcare considering its limited economic resources. For example:
According to the UN's World Health Organization, Cuba's health care system is an example for all countries of the world.
The Cuban health system is recognized worldwide for its excellence and its efficiency. Despite extremely limited resources and the dramatic impact caused by the economic sanctions imposed by the United States for more than half a century, Cuba has managed to guarantee access to care for all segments of the population and obtain results similar to those of the most developed nations.
Much of this praise is well-deserved. Despite its scarce resources, Cuba has one of the world's lowest infant mortality rates - just slightly lower than that of the US. Life expectancy is 77.5 years, one of the world's highest. And until not so long ago, there was one doctor for every 170 citizens - the highest patient-per-doctor ratio in the world.
Others, however, state that all is not as good as it seems:
Then there is the real Cuban system, the one that ordinary people must use — and it is wretched. Testimony and documentation on the subject are vast. Hospitals and clinics are crumbling. Conditions are so unsanitary, patients may be better off at home, whatever home is. If they do have to go to the hospital, they must bring their own bedsheets, soap, towels, food, light bulbs — even toilet paper. And basic medications are scarce. In Sicko, even sophisticated medications are plentiful and cheap. In the real Cuba, finding an aspirin can be a chore. And an antibiotic will fetch a fortune on the black market.
In the Q&A, the kids spouted at him [Cuban exile Ermando Valladeres] the usual line about Cuba: health care, literacy, and blacks. They had been carefully taught it by their teachers. And Valladares answered, in essence, “It’s all untrue — a pack of lies. But even if it were true: Can’t a country have those things without dictatorship, without tyranny, without gulags, without torture — with freedom?”
It is difficult to reconcile the two. By objectively measurable indicators, such as access to (preventive) care, health expectancy, infant mortality etc., does Cuban healthcare perform better than the healthcare for countries of comparable economic strength? Or is there verifiable evidence that this is primarily a very well-constructed façade set up by the authorities in Cuba?