Cuba Contracts Out MDs to Panama to Fight Covid-19

The Cuban doctors arriving in Panama to work in the Covid-19 treatment at hospitals.

By Circles Robinson

HAVANA TIMES – A brigade of 220 Cuban doctors arrived in Panama last week to take part in that country’s effort to mitigate the Covid-19 health crisis. Panama is one of the countries of the Americas with the most positive cases per million inhabitants.

The December 27th data shows 233,705 cases and 3,892 deaths from Covid in the country of 4.2 million inhabitants. The most affected areas of the country are the capital Panama City, West Panama Province and Chiriqui in the west.

Panamanian Health Minister Luis Francisco Sucre announced the arrival of “The medical reinforcements for the Health System. They are here to contribute to the high demand in our hospitals.” He added, “They are all specialists in different fields, intensive care, internal medicine, pulmonology, cardiologists, respiratory therapists.” 

“There are also specialized nurses,” noted Alessandro Ganci an advisor to the Panamanian Health Ministry.

The Cuban doctors are not the only foreign MDs in the battle.  Doctors from the United States, Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela are also under contract. The government is also trying to convince more Panamanian doctors to join the effort.

Good business for the Cuban government

Besides tourism and family remittances, contracting out Cuban medical personnel has been one of the top three income generators for the Castro-Diaz Canel government. Recently the business is again on the rise. New contracts with the governments in Mexico and now Panama are part of those countries Covid mitigation efforts.

The business is so profitable because the doctors only receive a portion of the payments. Often, the lion’s share goes right into the Cuban state coffers. The government says the profits go to paying for health services for the island’s population. 

The doctors contracted out do receive more than the small salaries they receive for working in Cuba. They try to live as frugally as possible to take money home, for many, the main reason for going.

Over the years, thousands of Cuban doctors abandoned their “missions” in dozens of countries and sought asylum. They often describe their exploitation as modern-day slavery. The Cuban government counters that they contract out of their own free will.

Meanwhile, the governments and populations on the receiving end of the Cuban health missions benefit from dedicated full-time personnel known for doing a conscientious job.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

7 thoughts on “Cuba Contracts Out MDs to Panama to Fight Covid-19

  • Nick, the failings of the US Healthcare delivery system are an easy target fir anyone with half a brain and a desire to criticize the most powerful country in the world. The lack of affordable healthcare to Americans does not excuse the modern-day slavery practices by the Castro dictatorship in their export of medical services. The fact that Cuba severely underpays its medical personnel to increase their profits is not a result of health care policy in the US. Americans who choose to criticize the Castro dictatorship’s crimes against humanity can and do also criticize the weaknesses in US health care. This is far from hypocrisy. These are two mutually exclusive subjects. This blog is about Cuba. If you want to share your gripe about health care in the US you should do so elsewhere.

  • It is interesting to see the views of some U.S. citizens on Cuba’s healthcare and the policy of exporting healthcare expertise in order to bring revenue into Cuba.

    Let it not go unsaid that ‘healthcare’ in the USA is one of the all time greatest scams that has ever been perpetrated by one set of human beings against another.
    The viewpoint from more rational and progressive parts of the world is one of astonishment.
    Why do the good folk of the USA put up with this almighty rip-off??
    Surely a second Revolution is required to rid the wonderful USA of this ugly and heinous crime against its own citizenry??
    The only way this disgraceful practice manages to continue is by channelling a certain percentage the dirty profits into drip-drip propaganda which gleefully describes any rational or civilised alternative as some kind of socialist evil or the work of god hating satanists.
    Therefore any U.S. citizen criticising the healthcare set up of pretty much any other country on God’s earth is a automatically a hypocrite from the get-go.

    Just bear in mind the following juxtaposed facts:
    Cuba exports healthcare to countries that could sure use some healthcare.
    The USA exports lethal weaponry to countries that are sure gonna use some lethal weaponry.
    And yet still some good ‘ol US patriots are so terminally brainwashed and deluded that they still try to assume some kind of moral high ground.
    Astonishing. Truly astonishing !!!

    I know for an absolute fact that there are are a great many good people in the USA who would agree with every word that I am saying here. God bless ya all.

    I wish a fruitful and safe 2021 to everyone.

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