More Cuban doctors due in Brazil to work in poor areas

November 3, 2013

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 health system.

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 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 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 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 , in their view, giving Cubans job opportunities instead of arranging for Brazilians to care for their own.

Explore further: Brazil to lure foreigners to fill public health posts

Related Stories

Brazil to lure foreigners to fill public health posts

July 9, 2013
Brazil launched a program Monday to lure thousands of foreign doctors to fill vacancies in its public health system, a move criticized by many domestic health care professionals.

Brazil hires 4,000 Cuban doctors to treat poor (Update)

August 22, 2013
Brazil will import thousands of Cuban doctors to work in areas where medical services and physicians are scarce, and Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota defended the plan Thursday as a way to give "the best possible medical ...

Cuba reports 163 new cholera cases for year (Update)

August 27, 2013
Cuba has reported a cholera outbreak to international health monitors, with 163 new cases this year associated with three provinces.

Cuba to free doctors from onerous travel rules

January 7, 2013
(AP)—Cuba is eliminating longstanding restrictions on health care professionals' overseas travel as part of a broader migration reform that takes effect next week, an island doctor told The Associated Press on Monday.

Pricey but worth it: Cubans finally surf the Web

June 28, 2013
Cuban teacher Nancy Garcia would love to surf the Web at home. But since that is restricted in this communist country, she now logs on from new hotspots—at a price few can afford.

Recommended for you

High-fat diet in pregnancy can cause mental health problems in offspring

July 21, 2017
A high-fat diet not only creates health problems for expectant mothers, but new research in an animal model suggests it alters the development of the brain and endocrine system of their offspring and has a long-term impact ...

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.