Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Cuba and the training of physicians in the country

The controversy generated by the government's willingness to hire about 6000 Cuban doctors to work in primary health care in the poorest regions of the country stimulated, among other reasons, the questions about training them.

In Cuba, there are 25 medical schools, all public, and a Latin American School of Medicine study in which there are students from 113 foreign countries, including Brazil.

by Renata Giraldi
Brazil Agency reporter

The duration of medical school in Cuba, like Brazil, is six years full-time, then there are three to four years for specialization. By the rules of the Ministry of Education of Cuba, only students who get high grades in secondary school are accepted in medical school and are considered for entrance.

Cuban doctors working in Brazil say that, in Cuba, the student has two chances to be approved in a discipline in college: If they fail, they are automatically switched off course. In the first step of the course, there are classes of biomedical, social sciences, and interdisciplinary morphophysiology.

In the following stages of the course, medical students in Cuba are taught pathology, medical genetics, microbiology, parasitology, geriatrics, informatics and other disciplines. According to Cuban doctors, there is no difference between the salary except for professional training - those with master's and doctoral degrees can earn more.

According to the Cuban professionals, all medical students spend the sixth year in a period of internship, knowing the key areas of a general hospital. The training of professionals in Cuba is gets a call for family health: doctors are general practitioners, but with knowledge in pediatrics, minor surgery and even gynecology and obstetrics.

However, the possibility of hiring Cuban doctors generates criticism and caveats from Brazilian professionals. But the Brazilian government believes that the need for professionals and health guarantees for the entire Brazilian population should prevail over any restrictions to foreigners.

Earlier this year, for the mayors who obtained mandates, the federal government presented a series of demands in healthcare. In relation to requests by mayors,  they said it was difficult to attract doctors to the poorest areas in the suburbs and the countryside.

Translated from the Portuguese version by:

Lisa Karpova


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