Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Fidel Castro Offered Free Healthcare Assistance and Free Medical School Education to American Students

Realistic healthcare for Black Americans
By Harry C. Alford, NNPA Columnist
September 11, 2006

During a visit by a delegation of the Congressional Black Caucus, Cuba President Fidel Castro offered free healthcare assistance to residents in the Mississippi Delta and free medical school education to American students who promised to work in underserved American communities. It seemed insulting or sarcastic but he was sincere and the need is real. Here we are the richest nation on earth and we suffer from healthcare issues and cannot deliver an adequate system to our own populace. There is a big concern by U.S. businesses about a viable workforce that is healthy and educated. It is becoming a scourge and is going to doom our competitiveness if we don't address it immediately.

A Cuban of African descent has a lifespan that is seven years longer than his American counterpart. Sickle Cell Anemia barely exists in Cuba and is totally under control. HIV/AIDS is not a major issue, even though sex flows in Cuba as well as any other place in the world. All Cubans get two physical examinations per year. All healthcare is free and totally accessible. Consequently, Cubans have a very healthy population that is also at least 92 percent literate. This is the envy of American business.

Unless we get a handle on our situation, the United States' position of greatness is doomed. Of course, the African-American segment of this country will be the first to hit "bottom" and will experience the lowest rung of each demographic. The hurricanes last year made the Gulf Coast situation even worse. New Orleans is operating with only two decent hospitals. Too many of us die too soon and suffer too much needlessly. The dire situation of healthcare in Black communities has been ignored for too long. We cannot incubate our own businesses if we cannot have a workforce that is healthy and physically dependable. This is our challenge.
Necessity is the breeder of invention and some entrepreneurs have begun to address this void. One such innovator is Intrepid Holdings Inc. This Houston-based firm is traded over the counter on the NASDAQ exchange as ITPD. There are fewer than two dozen Black-owned firms that are publicly traded and Intrepid Holdings Inc. is one of them. The Healthcare Group division of this company is starting to put health clinics into urban neighborhoods that will provide affordable 24-hour service to the public. Instead of going to an emergency room at the local hospital and waiting hours upon hours, one can walk into a clinic at the time they desire and get timely service.

Wondering about your blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, etc.? Just pay $25 -$40 for the service. Get your prescription needs fulfilled at an adjoining 24-hour pharmacy. Return as many times as you like and know that your healthcare needs have an alternative to the expensive, hard-to-access regimen that all Americans, especially the needy, have had to endure.

These new "Healthy Access" clinics will start opening throughout the nation during the fall. The first clinics will open in some Wal-Mart stores in Texas, the Washington, D.C.-area, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. They are expected to grow at the rate of two stores per week within the Wal-Mart system. Houston will also allow Healthy Access clinics within its borders in the near future. All cities can contact Intrepid Holdings and inquire about the possibility of clinics being established in their needy areas. City administrators and healthcare executives can simply go to www.intrepidholdings.com for contact information.

Healthy Access Clinics do more than provide better healthcare to the underserved. They also provide employment opportunities for minorities in the healthcare industries. They plan to recruit minorities in the nursing, medical and administrative fields. They have pledged to use minority craftsmen and contractors as they build these clinics. It won't just be the patients that will benefit; it will be the local workforce, professionals and businesses. This is why the National Black Chamber of Commerce fully supports this effort and congratulates Wal-Mart for recognizing the need and doing something about it.

This is just one good example of the opportunities that exist in addressing our healthcare crisis. There are a few other companies attempting to do what Healthy Access is doing but they are not minority owned and, perhaps, don't directly relate to what the trials in healthcare exactly are for those of us in urban areas or blighted rural communities.

No comments:


The posting of stories, commentaries, reports, documents and links (embedded or otherwise) on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such posted material or parts therein.

The myriad of facts, conjecture, perspectives, viewpoints, opinions, analyses, and information in the articles, stories and commentaries posted on this site range from cutting edge hard news and comment to extreme perspectives. I choose not to sweep uncomfortable material under the rug - where it can grow and fester. I choose not to censor uncomfortable logic. These things reflect the world as it now is - for better and worse. I present multiple facts, perspectives, viewpoints, opinions, analyses, and information.

Journalism should be the profession of gathering and presenting a broad panorama of news about the events of our times and presenting it to readers for their own consideration. I believe in the intelligence, judgment and wisdom of my readers to discern for themselves among the data which appears on this site that which is valid and worthy...or otherwise