After 5 years seeing 113 million patients, Cuba discontinues participation in “More Doctors” programme in Brazil

November 14 2018
Source:  Granma

Statement from the Ministry of Public Health, Cuba

Jair Bolsonaro, president elect of Brazil, who has made direct, contemptuous and threatening comments against the presence of our doctors, has declared and reiterated that he will modify the terms and conditions of the More Doctors program , disregarding the Pan-American Health Organization


The Ministry of Public Health of the Republic of Cuba, committed to the solidarity and humanist principles that have guided Cuba’s medical cooperation for 55 years, has been participating in Brazil’s “More Doctors” program since its inception in August of 2013. This initiative launched by Dilma Rousseff, who was at that time the president of the Federal Republic of Brazil, pursued the noble purpose of guaranteeing medical assistance to the majority of the Brazilian people, following the principle of universal health coverage promoted by the World Health Organization.

The program had planned the inclusion of Brazilian and foreign doctors who would work in poor and remote areas of the country.

Cuba’s participation in this program was arranged through the Pan-American Health Organization with one distinctive feature: it was intended to fill the vacancies left by doctors from Brazil and other foreign nations.

During these five years of work, some 20 000 Cuban collaborators have assisted 113,359,000 patients in more than 3,600 municipalities. They were able to provide health coverage to a vast 60 million Brazilians, when they accounted for 80% of all the doctors who were taking part in the program. More than 700 municipalities were able to have a doctor for the first time ever.

The work of Cuban doctors in areas of extreme poverty, in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Salvador de Bahia, and the 34 Special Indigenous Districts, particularly in Amazonia, was widely recognized by federal, state, and municipal governments of that country and its population, 95% of which expressed their acceptance, according to a survey carried out by the Federal University of Minas Gerais at the request of the Ministry of Health of Brazil.

On September 27, 2016, the Ministry of Public Health, in an official statement issued on a day close to the expiration date of the agreement and amidst the events associated to the legislative and judicial coup d’ etat against president Dilma Rousseff, announced that Cuba “would continue to honor its agreement with the Pan-American Health Organization for the implementation of the Program More Doctors, providedthat the guarantees offered by local authorities were maintained”, something that has been so far respected.

Jair Bolsonaro, president elect of Brazil, who has made direct, contemptuous and threatening comments against the presence of our doctors, has declared and reiterated that he will modify the terms and conditions of the Program More Doctors, in full disregard of the Pan-American Health Organization and the agreement reached by this organization with Cuba, since he has questioned the qualification of our doctors and has conditioned their permanence in the program to a process of validation of their titles and established that contracts will only be signed on an individual basis.

The announced modifications impose conditions that are unacceptable and fail to ensure the guarantees that had been previously agreed upon since the beginning of the Program, which were ratified in 2016 with the re-negotiation of the Terms of Cooperation between The Pan-American Health Organization and the Ministry of Health of Brazil and the Cooperation Agreement between the Pan-American Health Organization and the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba. These unacceptable conditions make it impossible to maintain the presence of Cuban professionals in the Program.

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 Organization and the political leaders of Brazil who founded and defended this initiative.

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. 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 Specialized in Disaster Situations and Great Epidemics “Henry Reeve” in Pakistan, Indonesia, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Venezuela, among other countries, are worthy of praise.

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.

All Cuban cooperation workers have preserved their posts and their full salary in Cuba, together with all due labor 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 show that it is indeed possible to structure a South-South Cooperation Program under the auspices of the Pan-American Health Organization in order to promote the achievement of its goals in our region. The United Nations Development Program and the World Health Organization 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.

The Brazilian people, who turned the Program More Doctors into a social achievement and, from the very beginning,has trusted Cuban doctors, recognized their virtues and appreciated the respect, sensitivity and professionalism with which they have assisted them, will understand who are to be held responsible for our doctors’not being able to continue offering their fraternal contribution in that country.

Havana, November 14, 2018.

PAHO Director praises Cuban medical support

Source:  Granma
June 29 2016

by: Prensa Latina(PL) |

On June 28, the Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Carissa Etienne, praised Cuba’s contribution to training health professionals and its medical missions in numerous countries worldwide.

paho praises cuba 2016.jpg

The region is facing a political and economic situation which presents great challenges to advancing toward universal healthcare. Photo: ABI

On June 28, the Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Carissa Etienne, praised Cuba’s contribution to training health professionals and its medical missions in numerous countries worldwide.

Participating in the closing ceremony of the First International Encounter on Primary Healthcare Experiences, Etienne noted that there are currently over 10,000 Cuban health workers in Brazil alone.

She also mentioned the island’s healthcare missions in El Sal­vador, Nicaragua, Ecuador and small island nations of the Caribbean, such as Dominica.  Etienne stated that 706 Cuban collaborators, almost 100 of whom are affiliated with the Mi Salud (My Health) program, much like that of the island’s community primary healthcare initiative, are currently working in Bolivia.

Cuba’s training program

The PAHO director highlighted the island’s training program, which has seen many Bolivian students graduate as doctors.  According to PL, Cuban medical collaboration with so-called Third World Countries began in 1960, when a group of emergency doctors was sent to Chile to treat victims of an earthquake which left thousands dead. Later, in 1963, the first permanent Cuban medical brigade arrived in a recently independent Algeria. Since then Cuban health professionals have offered services in over 120 countries worldwide.

Etienne noted that the region is facing a political and economic situation which presents great challenges to advancing toward universal healthcare.

Also participating in the encounter were delegates from Ecuador, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Brazil, and Bolivia.

The PAHO Director also praised policies implemented by the Bolivian government to extend medical coverage to all communities.  In this context, she recognized the advances of the South American nation in reducing malnutrition, infant mortality, poverty and illiteracy and economic inequality

Venezuela to Vaccinate 4 Million against Killer Illnesses

Source:  TeleSUR
April 26 2015

Venezuela kicked off a campaign Sunday to vaccinate 3.8 million residents by May 31.

venezuela to vaccinate 4 millionHouse to house visits

The project, carried out by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), will provide 800,000 doses more than last year. Medical workers will carry out house-to-house visits in difficult-to-access poor communities and indigenous areas, to ensure that children and families in those zones are protected against 14 illnesses as part of an immunization scheme.

Children between one and nine years of age

The emphasis in the project is on children between one and nine years of age, as well as the elderly, and will include vaccines against tuberculosis, hepatitis B, and meningitis.

As well as the house calls, the organization has set up 5,957 immunization points, where children, young people and the elderly can be seen free of charge, and where information will also be provided about staying healthy.

An estimated one in five children around the world is not vaccinated. In 2013, 21.8 million babies did not receive life-saving vaccinations, according to PAHO.

Source:  Venezuela to Vaccinate 4 Million Against Killer Illnesses  TeleSUR

Chikungunya, a Challenge for Health Services

By Vivian Collazo Montano

chikungunya virusSeveral months ago the health authorities of the Americas gave the alert to the presence of a new viral disease: Chikungunya fever, a process which is transmitted by mosquitoes and characterized by fever and muscle aches.

Despite measures to stop its expansion – border control, elimination of breeding and reservoirs, pesticide spraying and self-care campaigns, among others, – a growing number of patients is being observed.

Over a million suspected cases

According to the latest reports from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), since the first case was detected in the hemisphere, 24,127 infected people and 1,106, 488 suspected cases are estimated.

Although the condition is not exactly mortal, it can be complicated, especially in people with other underlying disease, such as cancer, obesity, diabetes, asthma and hypertension, hence 172 deaths were reported, particularly in Caribbean nations.

Some countries like Colombia reports more than 90,000 suspects and many portend a pandemic, while El Salvador reports more than 500,000 and Dominican Republic half million of presumably infected people.

First identified in Tanzania in 1952

The disease has also occurred in almost all the Caribbean islands, and there were more than 2000 cases in the United States until last December, mostly by infections outside the country.

The Chikungunya virus – identified first in Tanzania in 1952 and in the Americas in December 2013 – is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes mosquito, particularly Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. It has an incubation period of three to seven days and the disease can be acute, subacute and chronic.

It affects both sexes equally and no respecter of age, says PAHO.

Progress has been made in developing a vaccine but it is still in the experimental stage

Its symptomatology, very similar to dengue, which must be differentiated, is also characterized by headaches, nausea, fatigue and rash. There is no cure and treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms, including joint involvement, which may persist chronically.

It is estimated that Chikungunya infection produces antibodies that protect people for life. Progress has been made in developing a vaccine, but it is still in the experimental stage.

Prevention is important

Therefore, it is important to carry out prevention, based largely on reducing the number of deposits of natural and artificial water, which can serve as breeding places for mosquitoes. This factor, as well as population density, overcrowding and the housing characteristics, determine a greater vulnerability of populations to the disease.

Hence, a program of effective and operational monitoring provides the basis for proper preparation against both dengue and Chikungunya, highlights the international health agency.

Maintaining communication and seeking full community participation

Participation and intersectoral collaboration is also considered essential at all levels of government and health, education, environment, social development and tourism agencies. But above all, maintaining communication and seeking full community participation.

Vivian Collazo Montano is the Head of the of Science and Technology Editorial Department at Prensa Latina News Agency

Source:  Chikungunya, a Challenge for Health Services Prensa Latina

UN Thanks Cuba for Support in Fight against Ebola

October 29 2014

José Luis Di FábioDr Jose Luis Di Fabio, representative to Cuba of the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), thanked the Cuban government for its prompt response to the call made by the United Nations to face the Ebola fever virus.

The ALBA-TCP Summit 

In the opening on Wednesday in Havana of the Technical Meeting of Specialists and Executives for the Prevention and Fight against Ebola, presided over by Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, Second Secretary of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and Vice-president of the councils of State and Ministers, Di Fabio acknowledged the actions of countries on the occasion of the declaration of the Extraordinary Summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas-People’s Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP), recently held in Havana.ALBA TCP Ebola summit havana Oct 2014 3Cuba brought together  254 representatives of 32 nations in Havana

The official of these international organizations of the United Nations praised the Cuban Public Health Ministry for the call to this meeting, which brings together at Havana’s Convention Center 254 representatives of 32 nations, and for its contribution to the training of human resources from different parts of the world.

Cuba has implemented a national plan for the prevention and fight against the Ebola fever virus

Roberto Morales, member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and Minister of Public Health, explained that Cuba has implemented a national plan for the prevention and fight against the Ebola fever virus, with the general objective of preventing its introduction and spreading.

Raul Castro: We need to move ahead promptly to avoid a humanitarian crisis of unpredictable consequences

alba tcp ebola summit in cuba oct 20 2014Cuban president Remarks in ALBA Summit on Ebola

Oct 20 2014

Cuba's President Raul Castro addresses the audience during the closing ceremony of Cuban communist congress in HavanaCuban President Raul Castro addressed the Heads of State and Government of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America -Trade Treaty of the Peoples (ALBA-TCP) and its observers that gathered in Havana in a Special Summit on Ebola.

Esteemed heads of State and Government, and chiefs of delegations; His Excellency Mr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General; Her Excellency Mrs. Clarisse Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization; His Excellency Mr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the Organization   of East Caribbean States

We welcome you to our country on the occasion of this Special ALBA Summit on Ebola convened on the initiative of President Maduro.

cuba hosts summit on ebola 2Ladies and Gentlemen, comrades;

A dreadful epidemic is advancing today on our fraternal peoples of Africa, and threatening us all. A high number of cases have been diagnosed with Ebola and many people have perished from the disease in several countries, including two outside the African continent.

A huge challenge to humanity

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Cuba: 20th LatAm Congresss of Pharmacology and Therapeutics Begins

Source: Prensa Latina

October 21 2013

latinfarma-2013The 20th Latin American Congress of Pharmacology and Therapeutics “Latinfarma 2013” opens it doors today here with the purpose of contributing to the development of this branch in the region, to strengthen public health in Latin America.

The event will be held until Friday at Havana’s Convention Center, organized by the Latin American Association of Pharmacology, the Cuban Society of Pharmacology, the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology, the Pan American Health Organization and the National Council of Scientific Societies of Health, and other Cuban Institutions.

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Cuba Praised at the 13th International Course on Dengue Control

luis gerardo castellanos 2American and World Health Organizations, Guatemalan Luis Gerardo Castellanos praised in Havana the Cuban experience in vector control and the island’s strengths in the field, which helps the international organization take that practice to other nations.

In statements to the Cuban News Agency, Castellanos said that Dengue, a disease transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, has recently affected over 1.5 million people in The Americas, though the number of fatal cases has decreased.

Dengue is a global health issue at present, said the expert and stressed the need for community participation to achieve appropriate preventive measures against a disease, which is difficult to treat. He said that although vaccine projects are under studies, an effective injectable drug will not be on the market till 2017.

Cuba: Venue of the 1st World Forum on School Health

school health 1The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) has selected Cuba to host the 1st World Congress of Health Promoting Schools, announced by Yanira Gómez, an official with the Education Ministry (MINED).
Gomez, head of the School Health Independent Department of the MINED, told the press that organizers decided to carry out the meeting for the first time on the island as an acknowledgement of the quality of the work of the Cuban State in the spreading of good living habits among new Continue reading