Nestled in a quiet neighborhood called Siboney in the west of Havana under tall palm trees, the Pradera International Health Center rises like an oasis in paradise. This is the scene that greets one after a long journey by taxi through the bustling streets of Havana. The fountains should be bubbling with water but they’re not. There’s a drought in Cuba.
La Pradera International Health Center (La Pradera Centro Internacional de Salud in Spanish) is Havana’s contribution to the medical tourism industry.
Medical tourism is an international growth industry especially for the American patient as the current government claws back on healthcare for the millions. Cuba, so close to America, is at the backdoor for U.S. patients. It’s a short jaunt to some of the best medical care in the world. For Canadians, (from central Canada, at least) it’s also a short plane ride of three hours. Medical tourism from Cuba is the rapid solution to ever-increasing wait times for treatment and elective surgery.
There are two reasons Cuba will beat the competition in the industry. Cuba, like many other southern medical tourism destinations offers the same type of “recovery in a Paradise” option for medical care. What sets it apart is the internationally recognized talent of its doctors (the medical internationalism program), as well the country’s recent innovations in research and pharmaceuticals. Cuba’s doctors and healthcare services can be found all over the world. It is all about “reputation.” No other nation provides this type of global healthcare to such an extent.
The other factors, especially for the American patient, are the cost of care, travel distance, and the upcoming cuts to Medicaid. Time will tell if the current administration’s proposed $800 billion cuts to Medicaid funding over the next 10 years will eliminate healthcare for millions of Americans. This will create a massive market for the medical tourism industry in Cuba. A patient with serious medical conditions such as cancer or heart disease, no matter which way they vote, will not give a hoot about politics or the rules when it comes to finding a cure. American patients seeking treatment will still travel via third countries such as Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, Nicaragua or any other Latin American country with flights to Cuba.
La Pradera International Health Center offers a wide range of health programs and services to patients and the people that accompany patients. Like any resort, it offers air-conditioned hotel rooms for patient recovery and their travel companions, a swimming pool, a shop on the premises, email to keep in touch with family overseas, a pharmacy, a beauty salon, a restaurant and bar (specialized diets are available) and a conference room ( for health-related events).
Treatment programs are available for adults and children in neurology, oncology, orthopedics, trauma, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and diabetic foot ulcer, auditory/speech therapy, quality of life, full medical checkups, and weight control.
The facility staff, medical and nursing staff speak many languages so language barriers will not be an issue.
At the time of writing, the cost for a room at La Pradera is 70 CUCs a night (about $70 US).
Possible treatment or surgery may begin at the Cira Garcia Clinic hospital in Havana, but a patient can choose to recover at La Pradera. Patients undergoing cancer treatment often stay at La Pradera.
Plastic or cosmetic surgery patients from the Cira Garcia Clinic may also wish to recover at La Pradera precisely because of the tropical and tranquil environment of the Center.
How to Become a Patient at La Pradera?
There are two options. One can seek the assistance of an authorized medical tourism provider for pricing on a complete travel-care package. The company will do all the legwork and arrangements for the patient.
The second option is to contact La Pradera by email, telephone or from their Facebook page. A patient will be asked to submit all related medical records of the condition for evaluation (MRIs, X-rays, scans, previous treatments, etc) by email. The doctors will evaluate and discuss the treatment options. The patient will then be provided with a treatment plan and the cost.
International Healthcare Accreditation:
La Pradera, like many of the hospitals and clinics in Cuba, are certified according to ISO 9001:2008 Quality Assurance Standards from the National Bureau of Standardization (ONN) and Bureau Veritas. The ISO 9001:2008 Quality Assurance Standard is an international certification adhering to British institutional standards, measured by hygiene, sanitation, medical conduct and administration.