Cuba will double the number of doctors serving in Jamaica

Cuba's medical mission in Jamaica began to provide services in 1976 and today is made up of nursing professionals, doctors, among others

Two doctors in an operating room

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Two doctors in the operating room. Reference image / Pixabay

Cuba will double the number of professionals who provide medical services in Jamaica. Cuba will send 290 new specialists to the Caribbean nation, officials of the Cuban Ministry of Health announced Tuesday.

Some 259 Cuban collaborators are currently working in Jamaican territory, the head of the island's medical mission in Jamaica, José Armando Afronte, told the official newspaper, who recently said authorities from both countries examined and elected the new members of the group.

"There is great acceptance by the people of Jamaica and by the Ministry of Public Health in each institution that works - both hospitals and health centers - on the role played by Cuban personnel," said Afronte, who did not specify when they will arrive the professionals.

Cuba's medical mission in Jamaica began to provide services in 1976 and although today it is mostly made up of nursing professionals, it also includes doctors, electromedical engineers, and technicians.

Some 18 specialists are part of the "Miracle Mission", within which some 16,000 operations have been carried out to improve or restore sight to Jamaicans with few resources.

According to official data, in more than 40 years of work in Jamaica, Cubans have saved 2,541 lives, have applied 73,331 doses of vaccines, performed 30,761 surgical interventions and have offered more than 1.4 million consultations.

The export of professional services - mainly doctors and teachers - is the main source of income for Cuba, where university education is completely free and every year several thousand are licensed in the medical career for practicing inside or outside the country.

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In 2018, medical missions abroad contributed almost 6,400 million dollars to the Caribbean island, well above the more than 1,300 million earned from "support services", the country's second declared the source of income, which includes assistance to boats and airplanes, among other benefits.

The vast majority of the nearly 55,000 Cuban professionals present today in 67 countries serve disadvantaged communities and work in remote areas, where specialists rarely arrive.

However, there are many critical voices that consider these programs a harmful practice for Cuban doctors, because a high percentage of their salary goes to the state coffers.

In November 2018, Cuba withdrew more than 8,000 doctors from the "More Doctors" program in Brazil due to the threats of then-elected president Jair Bolsonaro to cancel that initiative if the island's government did not accept new conditions, including that Doctors will collect your full salary.

According to the tripartite agreement between Cuba, the Government of Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff and the Panama-American Health Organization, Cubans received 30% of their salary in Brazil and the remaining 70% was received by the Cuban Government, something "unacceptable" to Bolsonaro.

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