A French Town Seeks Cuban Doctors To Reopen Its Maternity Ward

Maternity ward in Privas, in Ardèche, closed now due to lack of professionals. (Radio France/Pierre-Jean Pluvy)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, October 10, 2019 — The maternity ward in Privas, a French town with about 8,000 inhabitants, closed on September 25 due to lack of medical personnel, but its authorities haven’t lost hope and are looking to Cuba to save the center.

François Jacquart, counselor of the department of Ardèche for the Communist Party, has planned a meeting for October 25 in the Cuban embassy in Paris to consider a temporary alliance to be able to hire doctors on the Island who can reopen the maternity ward.

“The senate has opened the possibility to overseas regions, like Guyana. And according to constitutional law, what is allowed for a French territory should be possible for the rest of the territories,” argues the counselor, who invokes precedent and thus attempts to dispel the idea that there is an ideological relation.

Laurent Wauquiez, president of the Auvernia-Ródano-Alpes region, asked the Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn via Twitter to reconsider her decision to close the center, to which Jacquart responded: “Finally, is president Wauquiez ready to follow me and bring Cuban doctors to Ardèche?”

Hervé Saulignac, socialist representative for Ardèche in the National Assembly, has complained that Wauquiez, from the Republicans, has taken so long to notice. “For at least twenty years the maternity ward in Privas has been under threat and now Mr. Wauquiez discovers it. The problem is that the service is now closed, everything is finished.”

Olivier Amrane, regional councilman for Ardèche for the Republicans, is prepared to support Jacquart’s proposal and, although he will not join the Communist counselor at his Paris meeting, is also working on the option to hire Cubans. “We aren’t closing the door to any opportunity, the important thing is to maintain the service,” he affirms.

The French Parliament approved in June a project to reform the health system which included a small article allowing the territories of the French Antilles to hire health workers from outside the European Union. Senators from Guadeloupe and Martinique thus managed to get the exception that Guyana already had extended to their territories. Since 2005 there has been an ordinace in the territory that allows it to hire personnel from other countries on a temporary basis.

Overseas French territories have used their distance from Europe — and proximity to Cuba — to get the approval of these laws, but it remains to be seen if a territory a few kilometers from Nimes, Marseilles, or Montpellier can do the same.

Translated by: Sheilagh Herrera


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