The Hiring of Cuban Doctors Violates the Constitution of Honduras

Furthermore, it is a violation of national regulations that only allow free foreign medical brigades

The arrival of Cuban doctors in Honduras has alarmed local health workers / La Prensa

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, April 13, 2024 —   The Medical College of Honduras (CMH), which has spoken out on several occasions against the hiring of Cuban medical brigades, published a statement on Thursday accusing the Government of Xiomara Castro of violating the Constitution. According to the guild, the authority of the CMH itself in the hiring of foreign health workers who, in addition, do not have the necessary accreditation to practice in the country, has been overlooked.

The statement, shared on social networks, recalls that the Constitution establishes that “professional membership is mandatory,” and that it is the Professional Colleges that are authorized to regulate the exercise of the profession, something that the Government, says the guild, violates with the hiring of the Cuban doctors.

To this is added, the statement continues, the violation of the Organic Law of the Medical College of Honduras, which establishes that the CMH is the “only authorizing entity for medical brigades in the national territory,” and that they must be free. In addition, all professionals must have their degrees accredited, and, finally, they must not provide services for more than 90 days.

“The Cuban doctors who arrived in our country have not complied with the requirements of the Law”   

“The Cuban doctors who arrived in our country have not complied with the requirements of the Law, so the Medical College of Honduras does not endorse the activity and professional practice of these colleagues in the national territory,” says the statement. It also denounces the fact that the Cuban health workers receive a stipend in exchange for their services, which disqualifies them from working in the country’s hospitals.

This alone, they add, is a violation of Honduran labor regulations, and they ask the Ministers of Health, Carla Paredes, and of Labor, Sarahí Cerna, to “intervene in the solution of this problem that violates the legal powers of the Medical College of Honduras to the detriment of the entire Honduran medical guild.”

Last February, the Ministry of Health of Honduras announced the arrival of 89 Cuban doctors that same month, after the signing of an agreement with Cuba. The doctors “will be distributed throughout the hospital network, according to the needs,” the institution stated.

Paredes, asked by the Honduran guild for explanations, then clarified that although she was in charge of signing the agreement, the Secretariat of Strategic Planning was the person in charge of the hiring. At no time have the Honduran authorities said how much will be paid to the Government of Cuba for each specialist, but the minister pointed out that it would be less than what Honduran doctors think.

“We don’t know if these Cubans are really doctors; we don’t know who endorses their profession”

The Central American authorities also stressed that “the Cuban humanitarian brigade does not affect Honduran doctors, because they are specialists in deficient branches in the country: surgeons, orthopedists, neurosurgeons, vascular surgeons, oncologists, internists, psychiatrists, epidemiologists, family doctors and geriatricians” – a clarification with which an attempt was made to counter – unsuccessfully – the criticisms of indigenous professionals and unions, including the CMH, which denounced at that time the dismissal of 30 workers for ideological reasons.

Months ago, in November, the CMH launched an alarm about the arrival of Cuban health workers without their being informed as a professional organization, and it left doubt about whether they were really doctors. “We don’t know if these Cubans are really doctors; we don’t know who endorses their profession,” said Helga Codina, president of the collective.

On that date, and in contrast to what the Minister of Health recently said, Codina explained that for each Cuban, the corresponding amount would be paid to two or three national professionals, although she did not elaborate on whether this was only for salaries or included accommodation and other expenses.

Other aspects, such as the training of the medical contingent, were also questioned by the CMH. “Many are giving consultations, and we have sometimes detected problems of mismanagement. This is the risk we run by bringing in foreigners without going through the country’s proper channels,” Codina criticized at the time.

A similar situation is happening in Mexico, where the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador has begun to dismiss national health workers claiming that “there is no money” to pay their salaries, when between July 2022 and May 2023, $9,667,115 was delivered to the Island in payment for a contingent of 718 Cuban doctors.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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