On Cuba’s Fake Stats
11/30/2016 Vincent Geloso
On Monday, my piece on the use violence for public health purposes in
Cuba (reducing infectious diseases through coercion at the expense of
economic growth which in turn increases deaths from preventable diseases
related to living standards) assumed that the statistics were correct.
They are not! How much so? A lot!
As I mentioned on Monday, Cuban doctors face penalties for not meeting
their “infant mortality” targets. As a result, they use extreme measures
ranging from abortion against the mother’s will to sterilization and
isolation. They also have an incentive to lie…(pretty obvious right?)
How can they lie? By re-categorizing early neonatal (from birth to 7th
day) or neonatal deaths (up to 28th day) as late fetal deaths. Early
neonatal deaths and late fetal deaths are basically grouped together at
“perinatal” deaths since they share the same factors. Normally, health
statistics suggest that late fetal deaths and early neonatal deaths
should be heavily correlated (the graph below makes everything clearer).
However late fetal deaths do not enter inside the infant mortality
rates while the early neonatal deaths do enter that often-cited
rate (see graph at source).
Normally, the ratio of late fetal deaths to early neonatal deaths should
be more or less constant across space. In the PERISTAT data (the one
that best divides those deaths), most countries have a ratio of late
fetal to early neonatal deaths ranging from 1.04 to 3.03. Cuba has a
ratio of more than 6. This is pretty much a clear of data manipulation.
In a recent article published in Cuban Studies, Roberto Gonzales makes
adjustments to create a range where the ratio would be in line with that
of other countries. If it were, the infant mortality of Cuba would be
between 7.45 and 11.16 per 1,000 births rather than the 5.79 per 1,000
reported by the regime – as much as 92% higher. As a result, Cuba moves
from having an average infant mortality rate in the PERISTAT data to
having the worst average infant mortality in that dataset – above that
of most European and North American countries.
So not only is my comment from Monday very much valid, the “upside” (for
a lack of a better term) I mentioned is largely overblown because
doctors and politicians have an incentive to fake the numbers.
Source: On Cuba’s Fake Stats | Notes On Liberty –