Cuba announced on Wednesday that it will no longer participate in the Program More Doctors and blamed President-elect Jair Bolsonaro (PSL) for the decision.
“The President-elect of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, with direct, derogatory and threatening references to the presence of our physicians, has stated and reiterated that he will modify the terms and conditions of the More Medical Program, with disrespect to the Pan American Health Organization and what has been agreed with Cuba (…),” the Cuban Ministry of Health said in a statement obtained by Reuters.
According to Exame magazine , the Caribbean island requested the return of more than 11 thousand doctors currently working in Brazil.
Mais Médicos is a federal government program launched in 2013 by then-President Dilma Roussef (PT). Its goal is to bring medical coverage to areas where there is a shortage or absence of these professionals.
“In these five years of work, close to 20,000 Cuban employees offered medical attention to 113,335,000 patients in more than 3,600 municipalities, and they were able to attend a universe of up to 60 million Brazilians at a time when they constituted 88% of all doctors participating in the program. More than 700 municipalities had a doctor for the first time in history,” said the Cuban Ministry of Health in his note.
Bolsonaro went to Twitter to respond to the situation:
” We conditioned to the continuity of the More Doctors program the application of capacity test, full salary to the Cuban professionals, nowadays most destined to the dictatorship, and the freedom to bring their families. Unfortunately, Cuba did not accept it.”
Condicionamos à continuidade do programa Mais Médicos a aplicação de teste de capacidade, salário integral aos profissionais cubanos, hoje maior parte destinados à ditadura, e a liberdade para trazerem suas famílias. Infelizmente, Cuba não aceitou.
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) November 14, 2018
At the end of 2017, the Federal Supreme Court ruled that the absence of revalidation of foreign diplomas in Mais Médicos is legal, Folha de S. Paulo reported . According to the rules of the program, doctors without diplomas revalidated in Brazil can only work in basic health units for three years. After this period, it is necessary to revalidate the diploma.