08/24/13 - Havana Times - First 206 Cuban MDs Arrive in Brazil
Cuban doctors currently work in 60 countries around the world. Photo:
HAVANA TIMES - A first contingent of 206 Cuban doctors arrived today in
Brazil, of a total of 4,000 to participate in the Brazilian government
program called "More Doctors", designed to compensate for the lack of
physicians in the poorest regions of the country, reported dpa news.
The Cubans arrived amid the hostile climate created by Brazilian medical
associations who oppose both the entire program and recruiting Cubans in
While the critics say the type of labor contract would be considered slave
labor in Brazil, the Cubans say they are participating "in solidarity" with
the population "not for money."
"We are doctors by vocation and not for money. We work because our
assistance is requested, not for a salary, in Brazil or anywhere else in
the world," said Nelson Rodriguez a family doctor, quoted by the newspaper
"Folha Sao Paulo ".
The Brazilian medical associations question the collective contracting of
the doctors via an agreement between the Brazilian government and the Pan
American Health Organization (PAHO). Under the agreement, the doctors will
not receive their wages directly. PAHO will deliver the funds to the Cuban
government which will then pay the doctors.
The associations note that the Cubans receive only a small portion of the
salary stipulated for program participants, equivalent to 10,000 reals a
month (about US $ 4,200), since part of the funds go to PAHO and another
portion to the Cuban government.
For the Brazilian organizations the contract model being used is the
equivalent of medical "slave labor" and described the government's
undertaking as "irresponsible" and "disrespectful".
Also the Brazilian Labor Department questioned the Cuban labor contract,
which the prosecutor Jose Ramos Pereira called "totally illegal" saying it
violates the country's labor laws and the Brazilian Constitution.
Cuban doctors in Venezuela. Photo: Caridad
Meanwhile, the "Folha" Regional Councils of Medicine threatened to call the
police at the time that Cuban doctors start work and warned that Brazilian
physicians will not correct any errors committed by their Cuban colleagues,
which they consider unqualified.
The 206 Cubans arrived today at Recife Airport in the northeast of the
country. Thirty of them will remain in the capital of Pernambuco, while the
rest of the group will journey to Brasilia.
Another 194 Cuban doctors are expected to arrive on Sunday. Along with 244
doctors from other countries, they will start on Monday the mandatory
training course prior to beginning their basic health care work across the
The official Brazilian ABR news agency said the Cubans who arrived Saturday
will be working in indigenous communities and other areas of the country
that did not arouse interest among applicants from other countries, such as
Spain and Portugal, to participate in the program.
Brazilian Health Minister Alexandre Padilha once again today refuted the
criticism from the Brazilian physicians, who are unwilling to work in the
poor isolated municipalities but don't want the Cubans there either.
"Between today and tomorrow 400 very experienced Cuban doctors will arrive,
86 percent of them with over 16 years experience in international
missions," said the minister.
He stressed that the doctors "come to work in the 701 municipalities that
no Brazilian or other foreign doctor chose" and said that his ministry
assures "the quality of Cuban doctors."
"That's why we demanded that the doctors be experienced. They all have
expertise in family medicine and other postgruade programs," he added.
Original Source / Fuente Original: http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=98295
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