Nov 15, -- There are clear signs of the warm welcome given by Brazilians of remote and poor regions to the arrival of Cuban physicians, a collaboration made possible by agreement with the central government of that country.
The Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper interviewed several Cuban medics, a part of a first group of a total of 4000, all members of the More Doctors program.
The Cubans, who were joined by professionals from other nations, are gradually arriving in remote places where their Brazilian counterparts do not wish to work.
The Brazilian government responded to longstanding demands of the population that has no systematic access to health services.
With an area of more 8.5 million square km and a population of 190 million inhabitants, Brazil has 1.8 doctors per thousand inhabitants. With the arrival of the foreign specialists and the help of a small local group, Brazil aims to achieve the goal of 2.7 doctors per thousand inhabitants.
With these figures in mind, it is easy to imagine the joy of hundreds of people in the region of Pernambuco, where the first group of Cuban doctors are already practicing.
The reporter for the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper said that patients are filling previously empty doctors’ offices.
A farmer of 69 years old confessed that she had seen a doctor for last time in 2005 and now she felt very fortunate to be assisted by a Cuban physician.
It is opportune to point out that this is not treatment by the inexperienced but by professionals often with 15 years of pre-medical training and many with experience in 2 or 3 other impoverished countries and in inhospitable regions.
Inhabitants of Pernambuco said that they were pleasantly surprised by the Cuban doctors' custom of placing the patient closely nearby in order to make an accurate physical examination and not with the desk as a barrier. While recognizing that the demand for doctors in the interior of Brazil is huge, Folha de Sao Paulo's story goes a long way to counteract the inaccuracies that are intended to undermine the government’s initiative.
The paper says that the Cuban doctors, hired with the consent of the Pan-American Health Organization, are now ready for action against sometimes invisible enemies, such as abandon and neglect.
During a recent visit to areas of the State of Bahia, Cuba's health minister confirmed the approval of the services the Cuban doctors are providing by community leaders and local residents alike.
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