The Brazilian 'Doctors for the People National Network' (RNMMP) issued a release, on Wednesday, thanking Cuban professionals for participating in the ‘More Doctors Program’ (MDP).
The program's efficacy is recognized by the decrease in infant mortality in the municipalities that joined in 2018. According to the Brazilian professional network, Cuba has demonstrated that medicine can be for everyone.
"It was an example that favelas, backlands and the Amazon can have doctors. An example that the poor or black people can be a doctor. An example that the state must guarantee the right to health. An example of Latin American love,” the RNMMP press release declared.
The ‘More Doctors Program,’ approved by former left-wing President Dilma Rousseff in 2013, includes measures to increase access to public health for the Brazilian population. One of those policies consists of assuring budgetary resources for implementing family-based health strategies, increasing medical vacancies in universities and offering more courses in the field of medicine.
The MDP also aims to hire doctors to work in areas which have been historically marginalized and kept from accessing quality health care services, such as urban slums, indigenous communities and Amazonian rural territories.
In the last five years, about 20,000 Cuban physicians have participated in the ‘More Doctors Program,’ assisting thousands of Brazilians in primary health care.
“Due to Bolsonaro’s irresponsible speeches, Cuba announced its departure from the ‘More Doctors Program’ in Brazil. Approximately 24 million Brazilians, who were attended annually by 8,500 Cuban doctors, are going to be harmed. This is how Bolsonaro’s government will be: elitist and against the poor.”
Cuba's Ministry of Health reported that it will not continue to participate in the Brazilian MDP due to President-elect Jair Bolsonaro’s statements questioning the quality of the Cuban doctors’ training and the terms of contract with PAHO.
“The Doctors for the People National Network receives the news with sadness, knowing that the withdrawal of Cuba from the More Doctors Program will cause the loss of about 8,500 professionals, which were working in tough areas,” the press release highlighted, adding that “we understand that the political moment which Brazil is going through - the advance of fascism and its threats to the public policy - jeopardizes the presence of the Cuban doctors.”