By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Cuba’s Public Health Ministry announced Wednesday that it will not continue in the Mais Medicos (More Doctors) Program, due to the requirements announced by President-elect Jair Bolsonaro for Cuban professionals. Cuban officials said the incoming administration’s conditions were derogatory and questioned the preparation of Cuban doctors.
“The changes announced impose unacceptable conditions and disagree with the guarantees established since the beginning of the program,” read a statement issued by the Cuban ministry.
Brazil’s president-elect responded that the conditions announced, which include an exam to renew their medical license, that they receive the entire salary paid by the Brazilian government and were allowed to bring their families to live with them, was reasonable.
“In addition to exploiting its citizens by not paying full salaries to professionals, the Cuban dictatorship shows great irresponsibility in disregarding the negative impacts on the lives and health of Brazilians,” said the president-elect.
In a press release, Brazil’s Federal Council of Medicine (CFM) says that the country has enough Brazilian doctors to meet the demands of the population, but that these doctors need incentives to work in rural, remote areas.
“In order to encourage the establishment of Brazilian doctors in distant and difficult areas, the government should provide for the creation of a state career for the physician, with the obligation to offer support for their performance, as well as adequate remuneration,” read the statement released by the council.
The Ministry of Health announced that it will launch a public notice in the coming days for Brazilian doctors who want to fill the vacancies to be left by Cuban professionals. Priority will be given to Brazilian doctors who received their medical degrees in Brazil followed by Brazilians who received their degrees abroad.
The Mais Medicos program was created in 2013 by the Rousseff Administration to extend primary care assistance in areas with a shortage of medical professionals. The program is present in more than 4,000 municipalities and thirty-four indigenous territories, and provides assistance to approximately 63 million Brazilians, according to the ministry.