The unprecedented accomplishments reported from China and Cuba in providing health care to their populations question the assumption that economic development along the model of Western nations is a sine qua non for developing effective health care systems among nonaffluent developing nations. Equal distribution of resources, emphasis on preventive public health measures, and attention to improving overall quality of life have been concepts employed to great advantage by both countries. When it is realized that improved standards of living have far overshadowed modern medical technology in upgrading the health of populations, the policies employed in China and Cuba become especially relevant to other nations, both developed and developing.

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