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

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

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.