Photo: Medical news
The dispatch of more than 50,000 Cuban doctors to countries in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East “does not affect” the quality or availability of healthcare on the island, Health Minister Roberto Morales said.
“There are more than 50,000 of our (healthcare workers) in 66 countries, of whom 11,430 will arrive in Brazil before March 20, but that does not affect the people’s medical coverage,” he said in a story appearing in Thursday’s edition of official daily Juventud Rebelde.
In recent years, the sale of medical services has been the main income-earner for the Cuban economy with revenues of some $6 billion per year, followed by tourism, which generates about $2.5 billion, according to official figures.
President Raul Castro last month announced an imminent hike in pay for the medical sector given the fact that the country’s “main income” comes from the work of thousands of doctors abroad.
There is no justification for the existence of deficiencies in the national healthcare system, Morales said, although he acknowledged that “questions related to cleanliness, provision of food, discipline of the workers and availability of bed clothes often tarnish the work of the medical personnel.”
He also acknowledged shortages of “materials and technologies” in some hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices on the island, and he announced for this year an investment of $91 million to buy replacement items and equipment and to introduce new technologies.