By Donald G. McNeil, Jr.
Two countries that are models of effective public health intervention, China and Cuba, have recently embarked on important policy changes, leaving some experts wondering whether citizens will be left worse off.
In September, Cuba and the Obama administration began moving closer to normalized relations, which may expose Cuba’s vaunted medical system to powerful new market pressures. In October, China renounced its one-child policy, under which most families were forbidden to have more than a single child.
Both countries enshrine health care as a fundamental right.
"Even after ending the one-child policy, China is very likely to hold onto its gains in public health, said Dr. Christopher J.L. Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. China’s 'blistering rate of decline' in child mortality resulted more from new wealth than from low birthrates, Dr. Murray said."