The program aims at improving health services in under-served rural and poor urban areas, and has been warmly welcomed by the population in those regions.
The Cuban doctors are supposed to fill gaps in Brazil’s public healthcare system until the country’s medical schools produce enough Brazilian doctors fit and willing to serve in areas of poverty.
Currently 5,400 of the 6,500 foreign doctors involved in the program are contracted under an agreement between Brazil, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Cuban government.
The announcement comes a week before Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is scheduled to visit Cuba to participate in the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). Rousseff is also expected to witness the opening of Phase 1 of a new container port at Mariel, which has been largely funded by Brazil.