Brazil may raise number of Cuban doctors again
Health and Medicine
12 / 16 / 2013
The Brazilian government will evaluate the number of doctors needed
under the Mais Médicos program in March, President Dilma Rousseff
announced during a visit of a Cuban-staffed hospital near São Paulo on
"If necessary," the number of foreign doctors hired under the program
started in September may be increased again, Rousseff said; Brazilian
officials have said they hoped to double Mais Médicos from currently
6,500 to 13,000 doctors. The program, aiming at improving health
services in under-served rural and poor urban areas, is eminently
popular and has helped boost Rousseff's political standing, after
massive street protests swept the country in summer.
During her participation in the opening of the José Alencar hospital in
São Bernardo do Campos, Rousseff was accompanied by her popular
predecessor Luiz Inácio 'Lula' da Silva and Health Minister Alexandre
Five thousand four hundred of the currently 6,500 foreign doctors in the
program are contracted under an agreement between Brazil, the Pan
American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Cuban government. Brazil has
been struggling to find enough Brazilian doctors and foreign doctors
contracted on an individual base.
As Brazil pays $4,000 per doctor each month, revenues for Cuba at the
current staffing level are estimated at $250 million per year.
In November, Brazil added 3,000 Cuban doctors to the 2,400 Cuban doctors
already in the country since September. The current total of 5,400
exceeds the previously announced number by 1,400. Even so, this still is
below the 6,000 announced by the Brazilian government in May this year.
The summer demonstrations included Brazilian doctors protesting the
contracting of foreign doctors, apparently causing the government to
backtrack temporarily. On Aug. 21, the Brazilian health ministry and
PAHO announced Aug. 21 to contract 4,000 Cuban doctors as a backbone for
the fast-expanding medical program in needy regions of Brazil.
Source: Cuba Standard
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