Cuba cancels health deal with Brazil

By Staff Reporter


Cuba has discontinued a health programme, More Doctors for Brazil, that was meant to help the rural population in Brazil.

The Cuban Ministry of Public Health, committed to the solidarity and humanistic principles that have guided the South American country’s medical cooperation for 55 years, has been participating in the programme since its inception in August 2013. 

The initiative launched by then Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, pursued the double purpose of guaranteeing medical assistance to the majority of Brazilian people, following the principle of universal health coverage promoted by the World Health Organisation.

The programme had planned the inclusion of Brazilian and foreign doctors who would go to work in poor and remote areas of that country.

And Cuba’s participation in this programme was arranged through the Pan-American Health Organisation to fill the vacancies left by doctors from Brazil and other foreign nations.

But newly elected Brazilian President, a fascist Jair Bolsonaro, has attacked the presence of Cuban doctors in total disregard of the agreement.

‘’Consequently, in the light of this unfortunate reality, the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba has decided to discontinue its participation in the Program More Doctors and has informed so to the Director of the Pan-American Health Organisation and the political leaders of Brazil who founded and defended this initiative,’’ Cuba announced in a statement Wednesday.

‘’The decision to bring into question the dignity, professionalism and altruism of Cuban cooperation workers who, with the support of their families, are currently offering their services in 67 countries is unacceptable. During the last 55 years, a total of 600, 000 internationalist missions have been accomplished in 164 nations, with the participation of 400, 000 health workers who, in quite a few cases, have fulfilled this honorable task more than once.’’

Cuba defended her solidarity through medical staff in helping health systems across the world.

The government further stated that in most instances they have paid for all expenses involved in humanitarian work.

‘’Their feats in the struggle against the Ebola virus in Africa, blindness in Latin America and the Caribbean and cholera in Haiti as well as the participation of 26 brigades of the International Contingent of Doctors Specialised in Disaster Situations and Great Epidemics Henry Reeve in Pakistan, Indonesia, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Venezuela, among other countries, are worthy of praise,’’ the statement read further.

‘’In the overwhelming majority of the missions that have been accomplished, all expenses have been covered by the Cuban government. Likewise, 35, 613 health professionals from 138 countries have been trained in Cuba at absolutely no cost as an expression of our solidarity and internationalist vocation.’’

Cuba stated that none of her doctors demanded a salary from Brazil, instead, all Cuban cooperation workers had preserved their posts and their full salary in Cuba, together with all due labour and social benefits, just as the rest of the workers of the National Health System.

‘’The experience of the Program More Doctors for Brazil and Cuba’s participation in it shows that it is indeed possible to structure a South-South Cooperation Program under the auspices of the Pan-American Health Organisation in order to promote the achievement of its goals in our region,’’ the statement read further.  ‘’The United Nations Development Program and the World Health Organisation have described it as the main example of good practices in triangular cooperation and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. The peoples from Our America and from all over the world know that they will always be able to count on the solidarity and humanistic vocation of our professionals.’’

Cuba stated that Bolsonaro had no moral right to attack a programme that had worked so well for Brazilians.

The Cuban government further stated that Bolsonaro should not even question the qualifications of Cuban doctors whose record worldwide was unbeaten.