November 28, 2022

Cuban doctors arrive in Mexico after controversial agreement with Cuba

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(CNN Spanish) — Sixty Cuban doctors arrived in Mexico this weekend as part of the agreement signed by the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador with Cuba last May and which caused controversy among Mexican doctors who have protested the working conditions they face, such as precariousness. and the violence of which they are victims in dangerous areas of the country.

The group of Cuban specialists will work in the state of Nayarit, in the western region, where they are already receiving training, said the Cuban embassy in Mexico it’s a statementas part of its incorporation into the public health system in the country.

“The professionals that make up the brigade have extensive experience in various specialties and will work closely with their national counterparts, as another example of the strength of relations between Cuba and Mexico,” the statement said.

The Mexican ambassador to Cuba, Marcos Rodríguez Costa, public a series of photographs on his Twitter account of Cuban doctors in Nayarit who were given white coats with the logo of the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS).

Given the protests of Mexican doctors and the critics On the part of the opposition, López Obrador insisted again on Monday that the arrival of Cuban specialists in the country is due to the lack of health personnel.

“I hope that they understand that we need doctors to cure our people and that, regardless of the courage, of the alienation caused by ideology, conservative thought, with practical judgment, with objectivity, with the truth, they investigate so that they believe us that We don’t have doctors, we don’t have specialists, because during the entire neoliberal period, not enough was invested in education, in health,” said the Mexican president at the morning press conference.

Doctors to strengthen the health system, says the Government

Last May, the Mexican government launched a call with 14,323 vacancies for specialist doctors with the intention, according to AMLO, of “strengthening” health centers in the country, especially those located in rural areas. However, more than 50% of the vacancies offered by the government were not filled, according to the general director of the IMSS, Zoé Robledo, when closing the call last June.

“There were 7,360 without any application, no doctor said: ‘I am interested in that vacancy in one of the institutions,'” said Robledo.

The offer of vacancies for medical specialists covered all the health systems that exist in Mexico and covered all the states of the country. Veracruz and Michoacán are some of the states where there is more need and where more places were offered.

According to the Government of Mexico, the specialties that are most needed in the country’s public health institutions are:

  • Internal medicine (1,753 vacancies)
  • Emergency physicians (1,728)
  • Gynecology and obstetrics (1,752)
  • Pediatrics (1,517)
  • Anesthesiology (1,367)

Controversy over agreement with Cuba

During his visit to Havana in early May, López Obrador announced his agreement with Cuba that includes bringing 500 Cuban doctors to Mexico, arguing that there are not enough personnel in the country.

“We have a shortage of specialists, we can have hospitals, but we don’t have pediatricians, and even more so when it comes to going to work in hospitals in poor areas,” said the president.

Faced with this justification, the Mexican doctors expressed their “disapproval and energetic protest” in a letter signed by the presidents of some 30 medical associations and colleges.

“In our country there are doctors with capacity endorsed by the Universities of the Mexican Republic, trained in full knowledge of the needs and idiosyncrasies of our population, some of them unemployed or eventually employed with very low wages or in areas of extreme insecurity” said the union in the letter.

The hiring of Cuban doctors once again puts the focus on the precariousness faced by health workers in Mexico. During the most critical months of the pandemic, doctors and nurses demonstrated in demand for better quality protective equipment for the care of patients infected by covid-19.

“Together with the government, all health professionals work and will work in the care of patients affected by covid-19, even risking our lives and those of our families,” the letter reads. “It is a grievance for the Mexican medical union since these foreign doctors (…) do not have the requirements established by current laws.”

This is not the first time that the López Obrador government has been involved in the controversy over hiring Cuban doctors. In 2020, the Mexican outlet Animal Politico published an investigation revealing that the Mexican government paid the Cuban US$6.2 million to hire 585 doctors to help fight the covid-19 pandemic.





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