Conditions Cuban MDs to Face in Brazil

Cuban doctors in Brazil. Foto:

HAVANA TIMES — The situation in the Brazilian hospitals where Cuban doctors begin working this week in the government program “More Doctors” is “terrible”, ensured locals cited by the newspaper ” Folha de Sao Paulo”.

Poor hygiene, a lack of equipment and poor infrastructure are some of the issues facing physicians who were selected in the first batch of Cuban physicians who joined the program launched by President Dilma Rousseff to provide services in the poorest regions of the country, where doctors trained in Brazil refuse to work.

“The manager is the nurse. A good manager, incidentally,” said Dr. Tamillys Figueiredo, who works at the family health center in the town of Barreira, in the state of Bahia. The doctor, 26, branded the conditions at the center as “terrible,” noted dpa news.

“Every week we have at least a day without water. There is no ambulance. The defibrillator is not working. If someone comes with a cardiorespiratory ailment we pray, only that, she summarized.

This health center, like many others, received Cuban doctors over the weekend participating in the program through a collective contract signed by the Brazilian government and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) .

The arrival of the Cubans generated harsh reactions from Brazilian medical associations, which branded their counterparts as “slaves” because they will receive their pay indirectly through their government.

Brazilian Medical Associations criticized not only the arrival of Cubans but the overall program. They turned to the courts to declare it unconstitutional and threatened not to cooperate with foreign colleagues. Federal universities also threatened to boycott the program, not providing professionals to supervise and support the foreigners.

The newspaper verified similar situations in several of the 206 municipalities in 18 Brazilian states to receive the Cuban doctors to work in places rejected by Brazilian doctors and other foreigners in the program.

The situation contradicts even the requirements of the central government for municipalities that join the program, a commitment to provide the necessary equipment, improve health facilities and provide minimum comfort conditions for the performance of medical services and health units in the interior of Pernambuco and Minas Gerais, in the metropolitan region of Porto Alegre, capital of Rio Grande do Sul, among others.

In announcing the program, the Health Ministry reported that through 2014 it will cost about 15,000 million reals (US $6.6 billion) to improve public health across the country.