RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Jair Bolsonaro (PSL) is working on changes to the Mais Médicos (More Doctors) program, which should include the reincorporation of Cuban professionals.
They had been disconnected in late 2018 with the termination of the agreement between Brazil and Cuba after Bolsonaro criticized their qualifications.
The government is expected to issue a provisional measure with the changes by August, as reported by newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo.
According to the plan, Cubans who have already worked for Mais Médicos could return to work in basic health care at the SUS (Unified Health System) for two years and, after that period, they would need to undergo a revalidation of their diploma.
After the Cubans left, the federal government has had difficulties filling vacancies with Brazilian doctors in remote regions, which has been the focus of the program since it was established in 2013.
Impoverished areas in large cities have also been experiencing difficulties.
The reincorporation of Cubans has been under study since March, according to Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta, during a Senate hearing.
The portfolio is also studying an incentive scheme with different levels of remuneration in cities further away from large centers, in addition to incorporating the professional activity into a training program.
It is believed that some 2,000 professionals did not return to Cuba after the end of the bilateral cooperation agreement.
According to the Ministry of Health, there is action within the government to “assist the permanence of these professionals in the country and alternatives for exercising their profession.”
The government tried to fill the vacancies with Brazilian doctors trained in Brazil and abroad, but ensuring their permanence is challenging.
Approximately fifteen percent of Brazilians who joined Mais Médicos dropped out of the program in the first three months of the year.
The Ministry of Health started a selection process this week to fill 600 vacancies in the program which had not been filled by the call issued in May, with 2,149 openings.
The first stage was focused on professionals trained in Brazil, and now the vacancies are available for Brazilians who graduated abroad (without the need for the revalidation of their diploma in Brazil).