14ymedio, Havana, 14 March 2023 — Mexico extended its health agreement with Cuba and will hire another 600 specialists from the Island. As announced on Tuesday by the director of the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), Zoé Robledo, the agreement was finalized with the Cuban Medical Services Marketer, responsible for selecting the health group and defining the salary issue.
Their hiring is part of the Health Plan for Wellbeing implemented by the Mexican Government in 2022, which aims to provide medical services to those who do not have social security. As part of this strategy, workspaces were also created for 27,398 retired doctors to work with IMSS.
Xavier Tello, a consultant and graduate of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, reacted to this announcement on his social networks: “Wouldn’t it be easier to simply offer more decent salaries (90,000 net pesos/month), with permanent contracts and an excellent benefits package?” he asked, referring to active Mexican doctors.
Last February, Tello warned the EFE agency about the hiring of doctors from the Island, which represented, in his opinion, “a terrible forecast of where we want to take health policies. (Cuban doctors) are taking away the possibility of having a decent job from Mexicans and are not solving the basic problem, which is raising the level of Mexican medicine.”
The health specialist described this arrival of Cuban doctors as a “patch” to fill the places that Mexicans, due to low salaries and transfers to unsafe areas, will not cover. “What [the Government of Mexico] has to do is inject resources. Mexicans should have higher pay and a better job offer. And what López Obrador wants to do is continue paying little and stigmatize Mexican doctors because they don’t want to accept poorly paid jobs.”
Zoé Robledo also mentioned that “another 188 Cuban health workers who were recruited in the national calls” will begin to provide services in the month of April, without specifying the states to which they will be sent. With this, Mexico expects to have 1,429 specialists, who have been hired under the argument of providing care in areas far from Mexico City.
Last October, the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador launched a call to cover another 749 spaces with foreign specialists, in which health workers from the Island were also registered. According to what was specified, the selected doctors would be paid $2,600 a month.
Without becoming official, this amount would be the what the Cuban government would pocket for each of the 188 specialists on the Island, who in reality, as various organizations have denounced, will receive only a small percentage.
According to data provided by the federal official, so far 610 Cuban specialists are working in 12 Mexican states. The agreement points out that these doctors would offer consultation in remote areas, such as the Montaña de Guerrero, one of the most dangerous regions in Mexico due to the presence of organized crime groups.
For each of the 641 specialists sent in the first group from Cuba, Mexico pays the Government of the Island 2,042 dollars per month, while the payment for each general practitioner is 1,722. In practice, Cuban physicians are only granted a small stipend during the year in which they work.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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