Written by Kieran Proctor

Shortages In Cuba – What Should You Donate?

Medicines top the list of items, that you should carry with you to donate in Cuba. And you needn’t take ...

Medicines top the list of items, that you should carry with you to donate in Cuba. And you needn’t take expensive or hard to come by medicines.

Basic medications are in short supply in Cuba and often command steep prices, when sold on Revolico (Cuba’s ‘black market’ Craigslist). The prices quoted for medications on Revolico, are often beyond the ordinary Cuban’s ability to pay, resulting in needless suffering.

Here’s some items you should take to donate in Cuba and how you should go about donating them. The list of items below, is based on what I myself take to Cuba to donate. And what my own Cuban friends in Havana, are always searching for.


Can I Donate Medications In One Place In Cuba?

Cuba’s medical system is characterized by corruption and disrepair, just like the rest of Cuba. Anything undocumented that is given to a hospital or clinic, will most likely be stolen and sold on Revolico for far more money, than what it cost you to procure as a donation.

You should not just turn up in Cuba with a bag of medication and give it all, to one hospital or clinic. You should never give all of the items you’ve brought as a donation, to a single individual.

Instead, you should give individual donations in Cuba to people who require the medications. And you should only give each person, the required dosage for whatever ails them.

If you have a Cuban friend, they will likely need medications and know of others who need medications. And one option to ensure that your donation reaches those who need it most, is to ask a Cuban friend or contact what they and their network of friends and relatives, do need.

Another option to donate medicine in Cuba, is to bring any of the items in the list below (next section) and visit one of Cuba’s churches or synagogues. The priests will know of people in their congregations, who need medications.

Your third option is to stay in a casa particular (AirBnB) and ask your host and housekeeper who they know, that is in need of the medications you’ve brought with you to Cuba.

But a word of caution here, because Airbnb hosts make far more money, than the general population in Cuba, you should not give your donation to them. They’re not an ‘average’ Cuban.

Instead, ask your casa particular host for the WhatsApp contact details of individuals in need of the medications, that you’re going to donate in Cuba. Then personally give each individual, the medications they require.

What Medications Should I Donate In Cuba?

Any form of anti-parasitic, anti-fungal or arthritis medications are a good start. Below is a list of items I often take with me, to Cuba to donate.

Included in the list below, are the items I know are regularly sought by locals in WhatsApp stories and messages. Yet, as long as the medications you take to Cuba will treat parasites, fungus, back or joint pain from manual labor and hard living, or block the sun, you’re on the right track.

The most common ailments are parasites, fungal and bacterial infections. And those that result from manual labor outdoors, under the harsh Caribbean sun; such as arthritis and joint pains. Or just sun damaged skin.

Are There Restrictions On Which Medications I Can Donate In Cuba?

Stick to basic Over The Counter (OTC) medications. Don’t bring any form of ‘medical marijuana’ or ‘coca leaf’ based medications, to Cuba. You should also avoid carrying opiate pain killers.

Cuba doesn’t differentiate between medical forms of marijuana or coca products. And no matter the form (cream, tablet, leaf etc.) Cuba will consider any medications made with marijuana or coca, an illicit drug.

Only bring cheap OTC medications for common ailments. These will be of the greatest use to the greatest number of Cubans. And cheap generic drugs from the list in the section above, will be of the most use to the Cubans you encounter daily.

What Medications Should I Take To Cuba For Myself?

You should keep a course of anti-parasite medication for yourself, if you’re staying more than a few weeks in Cuba. Every crowded venue and transport option, is a vector for acquiring scabies or some other equally horrible parasite.

I keep 6x6mg Ivermectin tablets and a course of azithromycin 1000mg tablets for myself. And I donate these right before leaving. That way, if I catch a parasite or get a bacterial infection in Cuba, I can treat it without needing to find medications on Revolico.

If you have special medications you require, that are prescribed to you by a doctor, you should take enough of these with you to Cuba, to cover the duration of your stay. I would also suggest carrying some extra days worth of your medication, just in case you face a delay when leaving Cuba.

One point I will make again here, is that I wont travel to Cuba without strong medical insurance that covers medical evacuation, in the event of an emergency. A Cuban hospital is not a place where you will want to be treated, in the event of an emergency.

Cuba may hold its hospital system and medical research up as world leading, but that’s just propaganda. Including Cuba’s claim, that they’ve devised a cure for lung cancer.

I’ve previously written about my medical insurance coverage. And I have repeatedly outlined that I get my medical insurance plans for Cuba, from

Where Can I Get More Information About Cuba?

I’ve made my Complete Guide To Traveling Cuba available on this website. And I recommend you read it, before traveling to Cuba. It will help you navigate Cuba and Cuban society.

My Cuba travel guide will save you a lot of time and money on your next trip to Cuba. Cuba is not the sort of destination in which you can arrive unprepared. Read the most complete Cuba Travel Guide.