Written by Kieran

Shortages In Cuba – What Should You Donate?

Medicines top the list of items you should carry with you and donate in Cuba. And you needn’t take expensive ...

Medicines top the list of items you should carry with you and 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.


Can I Donate Medications In One Place In Cuba?

Cuba’s medical system is characterised by corruption and disrepair. 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 your donation reaches those who need it most is to ask a Cuban friend or contact what they and their friends need.

Another option to donate in Cuba is to bring any of the items in the list below (next section) and visit one of the 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 you’re going to donate in Cuba. Then 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 are items regularly sought by locals in WhatsApp stories and messages. Though as long as the medications you bring will treat parasites, fungus, back or joint pain from manual labor and hard living or block the sun, you’re on the right track.

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.

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

You should also avoid carrying opiate pain killers.

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 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 keep some extra just in case you face a delay 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 their claim they’ve devised cures for cancers.

I’ve previously written about my medical insurance coverage. And I have 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 Complete Guide To Cuba will save you a lot of time and a significant amount of money on your trip to Cuba. Cuba is not the sort of destination in which you can just arrive unprepared. 

Read the most Complete Guide To Traveling Cuba here.

Kieran Proctor author at and tattoo

About The Author

I’m Kieran and I write & manage ‘In Lovely Blue’. I was born and raised in Brisbane, Australia. I moved to the beautiful and sunny Gold Coast for my undergraduate university studies. Before finally moving to Canberra (the Capital of Australia) to finish my studies and work in the Australian Public Service.