China, Cuba by the numbers

Public health statistics reflect overall social well being. Educational levels, nutrition, housing, preventative health care, access to urgent care, and hopes for a decent life are all big factors in what overall health looks like. That is especially true for infant mortality and maternal mortality rates.

Socialism offers the promise that all people gain the means for survival, not just those who can pay or figure out the system.

Recently collected public health data from China and Cuba, both socialist nations, are now available. The infant mortality rate (IMR) signifies the number of babies dying in their first year of 1000 babies born. The maternal mortality rate (MMR) tells the number of women dying for every 100,000 births. Life Expectancy (LE) is taken from birth.

In China, life expectancy, 71.4 in 2003, rose to 73 in 2005. LE in Cuba is 78.3; in Canada, 80: the United States, 78.2; Haiti 61; and in the world, 67.2.

Infant mortality in China, 25.5 in 2003, fell to 15.3 in 2007. For the second consecutive year, Cuba’s IMR came in at 5.3, second best in the Western Hemisphere to Canada's 4.8 rate. In 1950’s Cuba, that vital indicator never fell to 60; in 1962 it was 42.

In 2005, the IMR for the United States was 7.0, in 2006, 6.3. The most recent IMR for African American babies is 13. The IMR for the entire world is 52; that for Latin America, 26; West Africa, 108; and Haiti, 84.

China’s 2003 MMR, 51.3 maternal deaths per 100000 births, fell to 36.6 in 2007. The Cuban MMR last year was 21. For Latin America, the MMR is 190; for the world, 400; for poor nations 440; for industrialized countries, 20. The U.S. ranks 41st among 171 nations with its MMR of 11.

The choice for Rosa Luxemburg was “socialism or barbarism.” The rest of the story comes out in dry-as-dirt public health statistics. The odds makers pick it up from there: if you are poor and want to survive, choose socialism.