More Cuban doctors due in Brazil to work in poor areas
Some 3,000 more Cuban doctors are to arrive in Brazil from Monday to
join a government program to fill vacancies in the country’s public
Authorities said Saturday the Cubans are due in four major cities: Sao
Paulo, Brasilia, Fortaleza and Belo Horizonte.
They are expected to be operational next month after undergoing a
familiarization course, the official Agencia Brasil quoted the health
ministry as saying.
The Cubans will join 3,664 professionals currently enrolled in the “More
Doctors” program — 819 Brazilians and 2,845 foreigners — to serve the
underserved population of 1,098 towns and 19 indigenous districts mainly
in the country’s north and northeast.
The new arrivals will bring to more than 6,600 the number of doctors in
the program by year’s end. The government said it plans to meet demand
for 12,996 physicians until next March.
The program gives priority to Brazilian doctors for the three-year
posts, but relies on foreigners where necessary.
Each foreign doctor is being offered a monthly salary of $4,240 dollars
during the three-year contract. In Cuba, they earn under $30 a month;
Havana keeps most of the difference. Medical service “exports” are a
leading hard-currency earner for Communist Cuba.
Brasilia has agreed to bring in 4,000 Cuban doctors and to send their
wages to the Havana government through the Pan American Health Organization.
According to Brazil’s health ministry, this country of more than 200
million people has a shortage of 54,000 doctors, particularly in poor
urban and rural areas.
After massive nationwide street protests in June to demand better public
health services, the government launched the “More Doctors” program.
In August, a first batch of contracted Cuban doctors were booed and
insulted by their mostly white Brazilian colleagues in a racially-tinged
incident when they arrived in the northeastern state of Ceara.
The Cubans, many of them blacks, were slammed as “slaves” and “incompetent.”
The incident touched off a furor on social media and led President Dilma
Rousseff and Health Minister to slam the xenophobic reaction.
“It is important to say that foreign doctors, not just Cubans, are
coming here to work in areas where Brazilian doctors do not want to
work,” Rousseff said at the time.
Brazilian doctors’ associations have criticized the plan to lure
foreigners, insisting the problem was not a shortage of doctors but
rather poor management and a lack of resources in the public health sector.
Some also have voiced politically tinged concerns about Brazil
cooperating with a non-democratic government, in their view, giving
Cubans job opportunities instead of arranging for Brazilians to care for
Source: “More Cuban doctors due in Brazil to work in poor areas – Yahoo
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