08/24/13 - TV - Cuban doctors arrive in Brazil
SAO PAULO (AP) -- More than 200 Cuban doctors have arrived in Brazil to
work in impoverished areas where physicians and medical services are scarce
in Latin America's biggest country, the Health Ministry said Saturday.
Ministry press officer Ed Ruas said 206 Cuban doctors arrived Saturday in
the city of Recife to take a connecting flight to Brasilia, the capital.
He said another 194 Cuban doctors are to arrive on Sunday in the city of
Salvador. The 400 are the first of an expected 4,000 physicians from the
communist-run island who will eventually work in Brazil.
About 250 doctors from other countries arrived in Brazil on Friday along
with Brazilians who studied abroad. They and the Cubans are part of the
"More Doctors" program to get more physicians working in underserved areas.
Foreign doctors in the program will receive the equivalent of $4,080 a
month. In the case of the Cubans, Brazil will send their wages to Cuba's
government through the Pan American Health Organization, and Havana will
decide how much each doctor will receive.
All will have to spend their first three weeks in the country studying
Brazil's public health system and Portuguese.
Brazilian medical associations strongly oppose the program. They say the
Cubans are undertrained and that plenty of Brazilian doctors would work in
poorer areas if the government invested in decent public hospital
infrastructure and better wages.
But the government has said the foreign doctors are needed to fill
immediate needs, and have highlighted Cuba's strong tradition of sending
doctors around the globe to serve in poor areas.
"These are highly trained professionals specialized in family medicine who
have already worked in other Portuguese-speaking countries," Health
Minister Alexandre Padilla said in a statement posted Saturday on the
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