MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, July 1st 2022 - 04:06 UTC



Brazil drops the idea of Cuban doctors and will hire physicians from Spain and Portugal

Tuesday, July 9th 2013 - 00:09 UTC
Full article 4 comments
President Rousseff was responding to Brazilian medical associations that question the standards of Cuban medical schools  President Rousseff was responding to Brazilian medical associations that question the standards of Cuban medical schools

The Brazilian government, under pressure to improve public health services, has dropped plans to import a contingent of Cuban doctors and is instead looking to hire physicians in Spain and Portugal, the Health Ministry said on Monday.

The plan to bring in Cuban doctors created a backlash because of questions about their qualifications. Brazilian medical associations argued that standards at Cuba's medical schools were lower than in Brazil and equivalent in some cases to a nursing education.

Brazil was rocked last month by massive protests fueled by frustration with a high cost of living and deplorable public transportation, education and health services, plus rampant corruption and anger over the billions that will be spent to host the 2014 World Cup.

In response Dilma Rousseff is moving to expand public services, crack down on corruption and hold a non-binding national vote on political reform. Her push to improve services comes even as the government tightens the reins on overall spending in an effort to preserve fiscal responsibility.

On Monday, Rousseff unveiled a health plan that aims to fill the lack of physicians in rural communities and poor outskirts of Brazilian cities by hiring more local and foreign doctors.

“Every Brazilian must have access to a doctor,” Rousseff said in a speech. “Brazil is short of doctors. If we don't have enough in Brazil, we will look for good doctors wherever they are.”

In May, Brazil's government said it was in talks with Cuba to hire 6.000 Cuban doctors to serve in remote parts of the country where medical services are deficient or non-existent.

In the past decade, the Castro brothers’ regime has sent 30,000 doctors to work in poor neighborhoods of Venezuela, Havana's closest political ally. Under an agreement reached back then with the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, Cuba sent doctors in exchange for cheap oil.

Instead of a contingent of Cuban doctors, Brazil's Health Ministry will hire foreign doctors where needed on an individual basis. Each foreign doctor, a ministry official said, will individually apply to work in Brazil.

“We never reached a deal with Cuba. Now the priority is Spain and Portugal,” the official said.

Cuban doctors can apply, he said, but ads offering doctors work in Brazil will be posted in Spain and Portugal, not in Cuba. The doctors will be paid 10,000 Reais (4,400 dollars a month).

Last week, Brazilian doctors staged demonstrations in several cities opposing the hiring of foreign physicians. The government maintained that it will do so to fill gaps left by Brazilian doctors who prefer not to work in remote areas.

Rousseff said Brazilians will be offered the jobs first: “the goal is not to bring doctors from abroad but to provide improved healthcare in the interior of Brazil”.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • ChrisR

    Rifle and ammunition provided!

    You never know who or what is hiding in the jungle.

    At least the doctors should know what they are doing but only USD 52,800 per annum? UK GPs get THREE times that much and don't have to risk dengue fever for it.

    It's no wonder the Brasilian doctors won't work there, they know the problems.

    Jul 09th, 2013 - 12:18 pm 0
  • Hepatia

    Sounds like Brazilian doctors are protecting their patch. But even if Brazilian medical schools are better than Cuban ones a Cuban doctor in a Brazilian rural area will have better qualifications than the Brazilian doctor who is currently (not) there.

    Jul 09th, 2013 - 12:39 pm 0
  • Fred

    “ Rifle and ammunition provided!

    You never know who or what is hiding in the jungle.”


    Jul 10th, 2013 - 12:04 am 0
Read all comments

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!