Brazil Prepares Cuban MDs in Havana

José Alberto Gutiérrez* (Café Fuerte)

Cuban doctors in Brazil. Photo: Folhapress.
Cuban doctors in Brazil. Photo: Folhapress.

HAVANA TIMES — The Brazilian Ministry of Health launched this month in Havana a training program for a group of Cuban doctors on call to serve under contract in the South American country.

Besides Portuguese classes, the training entails knowledge of the basic care provided by the Brazilian public health system and related legislation.

The teaching of the Portuguese language is provided by at least five professors from federal institutions: University of São Carlos, University of Minas Gerais, São Paulo University and University of Latin American Integration (UNILA) in Paraná. All teachers were relieved of their academic functions so they can give classes in Havana between August 1 and September 7.

A Reserve of Physicians

For the preparation of the Cuban doctors in areas of the Brazilian public health system, a physician and professor, specializing in family medicine and public health, traveled to Havana.

According to the Brazilian Ministry of Health, there is no intention to increase the number of Cuban doctors in the country, from the current level of over 11,000. The course objective is to “create a reserve” to speed up the process of replacing doctors in the program who leave for various reasons such as resignation, desertion or insubordination, a spokesperson told CaféFuerte.

To date, at least 16 have defected from the Cuban mission in Brazil, three have died, one is accused of sexual harassment of pregnant patients, one doctor suffered a serious accident while riding in an ambulance and several dozens have decided to return to Cuba claiming personal problems.

Rousseff Vows

In full campaign for re-election in the October elections, President Dilma Rousseff promised to increase the “More Doctors” program (which includes doctors from several countries led by Cuba), including specialists and providing access to laboratory tests.

Rousseff launched the program in August 2013 in response to the pressure exerted by the mass demonstrations in June of last year, which included demands for improvement of public services. The program seeks to bring medical care to underserved and remote areas. More Doctors is one of the chief campaign issues of the president in her attempt to win another term in office.

Meanwhile, the demand for Cuban doctors has spread to Ecuador, where a group of 200 of 1,000 requested by President Rafael Correa arrived last week to the Andean country. The MDs joined other 200 who arrived earlier this summer as part of a bilateral cooperation program.

The Cuban doctors will be placed in hospitals managed by the Ministry of Public Health and the Ecuadorian Institute of Social Security. Some of them will fulfill a role similar to “More Doctors” in Brazil, serving in remote areas such as the Amazon region.
*Cuban journalist and executive editor of Terra Latin America and the United States. He lives in São Paulo.

8 thoughts on “Brazil Prepares Cuban MDs in Havana

  • Yes, but….the causality between our relationship with the Saudis and the derivative Islamic extremists is tenuous and debatable. We did not create Osama Bin Laden. The Saudi Royals did. Did they use US money to do it, of course. They also had French money, British money, German money, etc. The conflict between the Sunnis and the Shiites goes back to the time of the Second Caliphate. US involvement, at best, seems to serves as an accelerant for an already existing flame. The gasoline does not CAUSE the fire, it just makes it worse.

  • I am sorry Moses, whilst I find myself agreeing with you many times here we disagree. The role the US has played in the Middle East reminds me of the prverbial shooting oneself in the foot. Pumping billions into Saudi Arabia is never a good idea. So many money paid for oil has found its way to the enemies of the US of A.

  • The US did not ‘create’ ISIL. Anti-US parrots repeat such idiotic remarks because you are too lazy to do your own research. The US is no more guilty of creating these religious zealots than the Catholic church was guilty of creating Martin Luther and the Protestants in the 16th century. Historically, groups like this form out of dissatisfaction with the moderate forces of an earlier religious organization.

  • The same US that created the terrorists (ISIL).

  • Cuba sent soldiers to Venezuela to put down the protests against Castro’s puppet, Maduro.

  • I just saw a video where the Islamic terrorist group Isil lined up estimated 1700 Iraqi young men in a ditch and murdered them. These Iraqi young men didn’t have much need for Cuban doctors at that point. What they needed was 50 well-armed US Marines. The Castros, by virtue of the slave wages they pay Cuban doctors in Cuba, have developed a profitable business of training foreign doctors and sending Cuban doctors abroad. The world benefits from this service and so does the Castro regime. But, in the real world, people don’t always sit cross-legged in a circle to talk out their differences. The US did not invent violence so don’t be naïve and make stupid comments like the one you just made. By the way, the US does send doctors. Far more American doctors work abroad than Cuban doctors. We just don’t brag about it all the time.

  • Thanks Cuba, instead of sending soldiers, you send doctors, wish US would do the same…

  • I feel so sorry for them, but I am glad some Brazilians are gonna get some help

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