Cuba to Send 6,000 Doctors to Brazil

Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota (r) and Cuban FM Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla. (Photo: Wilson Dias/Abr)

HAVANA TIMES — Some 6,000 Cuban doctors will soon travel to Brazil to work in poor areas with a precarious health situation, the two governments decided today in Brasilia, reported DPA news.

The negotiation of the agreement, carried out with the support of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), was announced after the meeting held in Brasilia of Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, and his Brazilian counterpart, Antonio Patriota.

“We are organizing to receive a larger number of doctors here, to face the shortage of medical professionals in Brazil. Such cooperation has great potential, and we assign strategic value to it,” said the Brazilian minister.

According to Patriota, details about how the Cuban doctors will work in Brazil still must be defined including whether they will receive a permanent or temporary residence visa: “We are still finalizing the understandings so that they (the doctors) can perform their professional activity in Brazil.”

No mention was made whether the Cuban physicians would be allowed to travel with their families.

The Cuban foreign minister highlighted the growing importance of the relationship between his country and Brazil, especially in the social areas, tourism and economic development: “There is an excellent exchange of ideas,” said Rodriguez.

According to the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, during his visit to Brasilia, Rodriguez and discussed various issues of the bilateral and regional agenda, with emphasis on “development support and cooperation.”

“The bilateral agenda in Brazil and Cuba has been intensified with high-level visits and diversification and deepening in economic and social areas. The two countries cooperate in sectors ranging from biofuels, construction, transport, food security and health, including initiatives involving third countries such as Haiti,” said the statement.

The Brazilian government said, moreover, that the exchange between Brazil and Cuba increased sevenfold between 2003 and 2012, when it reached a record high of 661.6 million dollars.

10 thoughts on “Cuba to Send 6,000 Doctors to Brazil

  • Not everybody in Brazil is thrilled with the idea of importing Cuban doctors:

    “Brazil: Doctors question contracting of foreigners

    This Wednesday, Brazilian doctors objected to the government’s plan to contract up to 6,000 Cuban doctors to fill a need found in the interior regions of the country, warning that the qualifications of the personnel is difficult to verify.

    Geraldo Ferreira Filho, president of the National Federation of Doctors, told a congressional audience that during some years, 95% of the foreign physicians who attempted to validate their credentials in Brazil were rejected.”

    Not all doctors are equal. Not all medical degrees are quality degrees. Having a piece of paper declaring you are a doctor, does not make you a doctor.

  • Wow, sounds like what a lot of Americans, who have no health insurance have to go through. Only they can wait and wait and be left to die if it looks like they may not pay. You do not know what the deal is between Brazil and Cuba, betting Cuba will get a lot more out of the deal than you think. On under served areas, here in America we call those places rural and ghetto. Yep, we have that problem too.

  • That is what happens when you provide free college educations. We are too stupid to figure that one out.

  • A country that cannot produce enough food to feed it’s people, where the sugar crop is now 1/10th what it was before the revolution, where electricity generation is falling, where cement production is shrinking, and where the buildings are literally crumbling around the people who live in them… we are supposed to believe this country can produce more high quality doctors per capital than any other country in the world?

  • No, Moses, I’m not wrong. Cuba keeps pumping thousands of doctors every year and they also have a large amount of residents (+20,000) that also assist in day to day duties as part of the standard curriculum, so except probably in remote areas there should not be any shortage.

    It is true that lots of them stops practicing medicine an look for better payed jobs, but thats not generally true for the recent graduates and in general is a negligible percent of the total of available MDs.

    Ask your friend whether he thinks have the most impact in the system: the lack of doctors or the lack of equipment and materials and lets hear his answer.

  • You and AC are wrong. The self-reported statistics MAY be true but the reality in the streets of Cuba where both of you obviously lack experience is a different story. Given the Cuban doctors already abroad or still living in Cuba but no longer practicing the profession because of low salaries, Cubans today are beginning to experience a doctor shortage as well. Especially in the critical specialties like cardio/thoracic and cancer medicine. My best friend in Cuba is a physician who lives an entirely different reality than the cold statistics you found on the internet. If you are suggesting that the Castros can simply crank out more doctors the way they might crank out more cigars or more rum, it does not quite work that way nor is it that easy. They are not building more medical schools and the quality of the education these doctors would receive to meet the demand would likely suffer.

  • I wish we could get Cuban doctors in our underserved areas (read: most areas), here in Canada.

  • I think you are wrong. Cuban universities continue to pump-up medical doctors at a staggering rate (5000+ yearly), so in a couple of years they will replenish their ranks easily and probably look for further expansion of the the medical cooperation in other countries. Besides, the problem with the healthcare system in Cuba has never been the availability of MDs, but medicines, consumables, technology and pretty much everything else.

    Here you can find the reference for the number of MDs graduated in Cuba last year:

  • Cuba has the highest physicians per 10,000 population ratio in the WHOLE FUCKING WORLD, there’s little significant loss by exporting medical services. Just shut up.

  • Brazil does not suffer from a shortage of medical professionals. However, like any country with free choice, Brazil’s medical professionals choose to work in areas where life is more hospitable. As a result, there are underserved areas. This is where the Cuban doctors come in. Obviously, it is cheaper to pay a Cuban doctor to work in these underserved areas than it is to pay bonuses sufficient to entice Brazilian doctors to move to and work in these same areas. You can be sure there will be no Cuban plastic surgeons assigned to Rio de Janeiro. This deal speaks volumes about the difference in pay between Cuban and Brazilian doctors. If I lived in Cuba, I would be very concerned about the impact of this deal on the already declining Cuban health care system. As it is now, Cubans must wait longer and longer to see a doctor. Home visits, formerly the norm, are now virtually impossible unless there is a cholera or dengue epidemic. Exporting 6000 more doctors for hard currency will only exacerbate the current problems. Finally, this has nothing to do with Latin American solidarity and everything to do with the Castros desperate to sustain the Cuban economy virtually on life-support as it is. Still, it is a good deal for Brazil, good doctors at a low cost. It is a good deal for the Castros, more hard currency to buy food and materials. It is even a good deal for the 6000 Cuban doctors who get a chance to leave Cuba and make a lot more money by comparison. But it is a BAD deal for Cubans. Longer waits and poorer service for their health care needs.

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