The “Mais Médicos” Program and Cuban doctors in Brazil

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What is the “Mais Médicos” Program?

The Mais Médicos program was created in July of 2013, by the Brazilian federal governmetn as an emergential solution and as an attempt to supply the lack of doctors in poorer areas of Brazil. The program seeks to gather around 15 thousand doctors to join the program.

What caused a lot fuzz in Brazil and abroad was the decision of the governmetn to open the gates for foreing professionals (doctors) willing to join the program. The “importation of doctors” was highly critized by Brazilian medical associations and medicine students. The program doens’t seek only to use foreign doctors, in fact, the program prioritizes Brazilian doctors, but the condition is the same for all. If you join the program, you have to go where is needed, and therefore it will be determined by the authorities.

How is the population reacting upon this situation?

According to the latest surveys done by major research institute, Data Folha and Instituto Methodos, among others, show that the Brazilian population is favourable to the programs,as there is a very positive perception that the inclusion of these new doctors will be of great help for Brazil.


And the Cuban doctors arriving in Brazil…

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On 30th of November 3.000 Cuban doctors have arrived in Brazil. These doctors will be acting in major Brazilian cities such as Brasilia, Fortaleza,Vitória, Belo Horizonte,São Paulo, in order to supply the lack of doctors in remote areas or hospitals of these cities. A very interesting data released by the Ministry of health is that Brazil only counts with 1,9 doctors /1000 inhabitatnts. Countries like Argentina ( 3,2/1000) Uruguay (3,7/1000), Portugal (3,9/1000) and Spain (4/100).The U.S.A if compared to Brazil in it’s size has (2,4/1000) inhabitants.

In Brasilia, the health minister, Alexandre Padilha followed one of the groups to Rio Branco, the capital of a state called Acre. Today there are around 6.000 professionals working in the program, what represents an impact of roughly 22 million people being attende. These doctors are spread thorughout 1.098 municipalities and 19 indigenous districts, the majority of them in North and Northeast of Brazil.

By March of 2014 the expectation is that all municipalities have received 13 thousand doctors forecasted in the program.


My stake on this subject

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Brazil suffers from a generalized lack of doctors. Those complaining were associations and medicine students. I am totally favorable to the “importation” of doctors in Brazil. Besides playing a very important and humanistic role, these doctors are going to be attending a population that really needs attention, urgently.

In order to understand why I support the “importation” of doctors subject,it is necessary to understand the education system in Brazil. A whole explanation on the education sector and how education system works in Brazil will be given on a further post. For now, I’ll give you the following reasons.

  • Brazil has an exclusive education system. This means that, those born with a silver spoon in their mouths, have better chances to thrive. I have always been really fortunate, and in my case, never anything lacked to me, thanks to my dear parents.
  • Due to the exclusive education system, when you get at the time to go to finally go to university, only few students can join the public universities. These lucky students who were able to join a public university, were also in general very fortunate to have parents paying their private school all their lives.
  • Yet, due to the same reason above not a lot of people are capable of becoming doctors. Ah, and there is a detail. If you are not entitled to join a public university, you have the option to go to a private school of medicine. However, the monthly fee of a medicine school in Brazil can cost up to R$ 5.000, nearly DKK15.000. This is the price paid, only to study. There are also books, food, living. Sure, there are scholarships, but still a very small percentage, if compared to what Brazil needs in terms of doctos.
  • For these and several other reasons, I support this cause. The medicine students complaining, in my opinion, should be embarassed of themselves.What Brazil needs is a better country, with healthy people, that are able to have conditions and a decent life.

Need Information about the program

Anyone interested in the program should make their subscription on maismedicos.saude.gov.br. Doctors with a foreign register should see all what is needed to apply and attach and validate their documents in the Brazilian consulate in their country of origin.

Hope you have enjoyed this article.

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Carlos Monteiro is a Brazilian citizen, graduated in Business Administration by the Catholic University of São Paulo. He lives in Odense, Denmark with his Danish Wife, Cathrine, and their half Danish /Brazilian daughter Ines Marie. You are very welcome to be in contact him at any time.

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