New Internationalist

Swimming Against the Tide

June 2008

directed by Tom Fawthrop

If there is one thing of which Fidel Castro can be unequivocally proud, it’s Cuba’s health system. Enviable life expectancy and infant mortality statistics speak for themselves; innovative approaches towards conventional medicine, alternative therapies and primary healthcare are all largely to thank for this. But the Caribbean island’s impact on world health is a more extraordinary and little told story. This is globalization with a radical difference. Currently some 30,000 Cuban doctors are providing high-quality care in over 70, mainly poor, countries. Cuban medical teams were among the first to respond to Pakistan’s 2005 earthquake – and the few to stick around after the snows came. On the island itself, medical training is provided for would-be doctors from abroad, including, surprisingly, many from the US. One such trainee doctor– not wealthy enough to afford medical training back home – remarks that no-one had ever mentioned ‘health as a right’ to her until she came to Cuba. Thoroughly researched and with heart-warming personal accounts, Tom Fawthrop’s Swimming Against the Tide is an inspiration; a timely reminder of what public health is meant to be all about. Essential viewing for healthcare professionals – and users – anywhere in the world.

For more information or to order copies: DVD

This column was published in the June 2008 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

Comments on Swimming Against the Tide

Leave your comment


  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

...And all is quiet.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

Swimming Against the Tide Fact File
Product information (47 minutes)
Star rating4
Product link mailto:[email protected]

Get our free fortnightly eNews


Videos from visionOntv’s globalviews channel.

Related articles

Recently in Film

All Film

Popular tags

All tags

This article was originally published in issue 412

New Internationalist Magazine issue 412
Issue 412

More articles from this issue

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.