HUDDERSFIELD and Cuba may have little in common.
But lecturers at Huddersfield University are joining forces with Cuban academics to share knowledge and experience about health services.
Lecturers Alison Rodriguez and Rosemary Rae will collaborate with leading Cuban academics to study the ethics of medical care in the two countries.
They hope to build a catalogue of research which will look at the practice and delivery of medical care.
Alison Rodriguez, a lecturer in psychology, said: “Previous research has often involved Western researchers going to Cuba with the aim of teaching the Cubans how to do things ‘correctly’, irrespective of the fact that Cuba outperforms all other Latin American nations and has health stats on a par with the west, whilst spending a tenth of what we spend per head.
“There are major differences in the kind of ethics used in both research and practice in Cuba.
“While our main focus in the West is to look at the wellbeing of the individual, in Cuba the main focus is the welfare of the community.
“For instance, if something is discussed in a consultation with a GP that the GP thinks the community should know about, then the community will be informed.”
They are working with the International Institute for the Study of Cuba, who have just opened an office on the Huddersfield campus.
One of the main differences they have already discovered relates to the differences in palliative care.
In Cuba, people with terminal illnesses are not always told about their diagnosis because of the distress it may cause.
But, considering the wider community, their families or friends may be told to ensure a high standard of care is provided to the patient.
As Western researchers, the Huddersfield lecturers are being sponsored by Cuban academics because of a general mistrust of Western nations.
They hope to travel to Cuba next January to develop the research programme and share knowledge with focus groups, service users and professionals.