HAVANA TIMES — Some 4,000 Cuban doctors will arrive in Brazil by the end of this year to serve the population of 701 cities facing a shortage of health services, the Brazilian government announced today.
The arrival of the doctors from Cuba was made ??viable by the signing on Wednesday of an agreement between the Brazilian Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), reported dpa news.
The agreement comes after it appeared in July that such an effort to “import” Cuban MDs had failed, in part because of protests by Brazilian doctors who challenged the qualifications of their Cuban counterparts.
According to the Brazilian Health Minister Alexandre Padilha, the first 400 Cuban doctors will travel to Brazil next weekend to work in cities whose needs have not been addressed in the first phase of the “More Doctors” program, launched by the government.
The second group, consisting of 2,000 physicians, is set to arrive in early October, while the final group will arrive at the end of November.
Padilha said the government will pay to PAHO an amount equal to the salary offered to the 1,700 Brazilians and foreigners already contracted by “More Doctors” – US $ 4,081 per month. PAHO will then transfer the funds to the government of Cuba.
The minister said he ignores what percentage of the salary will actually be paid to the doctors, who will directly receive financial support for their housing and food expenses from the local administrations where they work.
The agreement, which runs through February 2014, provides for the payment to the PAHO of 511 million reals (US $ 208 million, at current exchange rates).
Cuba’s government pays doctors on the island between 20 and 30 dollars a month. They are forbidden from working outside their state position.