Sixty per cent of the population use traditional or complementary/alternative medicine. Sixty per cent of allopathic physicians are trained in traditional or complementary/alternative medicine. There are 579 registered herbal products made in Cuba. An additional 295 registered herbal products are imported.
Following the 1959 revolution, Cuban health authorities forbade the practice of traditional medicine by anyone except traditional birth attendants. Traditional birth attendants were slowly integrated into Cuba’s health services as ancillary staff.
The 1983 Cuban Public Health Law puts forth strict requirements for the qualification of health care workers. Traditional medicine practitioners are not granted exemplary status. Section 90 states the following:
Medical, dental, and pharmaceutical activities and other health professions shall be practiced by persons who have followed special courses and hold a qualification conferred by a center of higher education in Cuba (or an equivalent foreign qualification); the activities of health technicians, qualified staff, and other health workers shall be practiced by persons who have followed special courses and hold a qualification granted by an institute, school, polytechnic, or center for technical training in health.
A 1988 decree, which contains regulations for the implementation of the Public Health Law, prohibits the practice of medicine by persons who do not meet these qualification criteria.
In 1992, the Ministry of Health officially recognized homeopathy. National and international homeopathic congresses were scheduled during 1997 and 1998, and there are an increasing number of physicians using homeopathic remedies. Homeopathic dispensaries are spread all over the country. A standard good manufacturing practice for the manufacture of homeopathic remedies has been accepted. In 1992, acupuncture was integrated into the Cuban health care system.
In 1995, the Traditional Medicine Program was instituted, prioritizing the cultivation of medicinal plants, the education of practitioners, research into traditional medicine, and the integration of traditional medicine into the national health care system.
Education and Training
Courses on introductory and advanced homeopathy are given at the medical and pharmaceutical schools.