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Government Health Program Hires 41 Semiofficial Doctors

03/27/2014 - 09h35

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FABIANO MAISONNAVE
FROM SÃO PAULO

Despite not fulfilling all the Ministry of Health´s requirements, 41 Brazilian community doctors recently trained in Venezuela were chosen to work for the government´s More Doctors (Mais Médicos) program.

They graduated in November from the Dr. Salvador Allende Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) founded in 2007 by former president Hugo Chávez. Most are linked to left leaning organizations such as the PT or Landless Workers´ Movement. The group has returned to Brazil without fulfilling all the requirements stipulated in article 8 of the Venezuelan Law for the Practice of Medicine.

"After graduating they must practice as a rural doctor for a year or do a two year internship. If not, the ministry won´t sign the diploma and they won´t be able to do a post graduate degree, practice privately or anything else. They are incomplete doctors," said Fernando Bianco, the Chávez supporting President of the Caracas College of Doctors to Folha.

The non compliance with this requirement contradicts the hiring norms of Mais Médicos as published on January 16. The legal document stipulates that Brazilian doctors trained abroad must prove they are "qualified to practice abroad."

This week, the group started their 25 day training, which includes a primary healthcare assessment. But they all already have cities assigned to them in 14 states in the Sao Paulo region. In Venezuela the program for community doctors has been criticized for disrespecting norms, ad hoc improvisations and lack of qualified teachers.

The ELAM is not registered at the Ministry of University Education. The Brazilian´s diploma were therefore issued by the National Rómulo Gallegos Experimental University (UNERG) in San Juan de los Morros, over 100 miles Caracas, where the ELAM is located.

The Brazilians and other foreigners were awarded their diploma at a ceremony hosted by president Nicolás Maduro. The celebration included a visit to Chavez´ tomb at the Quartel da Montanha . The class was named "Eternal Commander Hugo Chávez".

"Here I met the greatest leader of all time, who planted a banner made for struggle that I´ll carry forever wherever I go," wrote Vaubéria Macedo, a Brazilian on Facebook.

"I got to know a different medicine, a humanist one which stresses the importance of human beings and for which health is more than the absence of illness. I am very grateful to my Cuban colleagues for this."

Translated by MILLI LEGRAIN

Read the article in the original language