Foreign doctors begin arriving in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Hundreds of foreign doctors arrived in Brazil Friday, the first wave of thousands including a big Cuban contingent who who will work in impoverished and underserved areas of Latin America’s biggest nation.

About 250 foreign-trained doctors arrived Friday in several cities, along with Brazilians who studied abroad. The first Cubans are expected to arrive over the weekend, said Health Ministry spokeswoman Priscila Silva.

Their arrival is part of the Brazilian government’s “More Doctors” program, an effort to get physicians working in remote and poor areas of Brazil that are drastically underserved in health care.

Brazilian medical associations strongly oppose the program. In particular, they say the Cubans are undertrained and that plenty of Brazilian doctors would work in poorer areas if the government invested in decent public hospital infrastructure and better wages.

But the government says the foreign doctors are needed to fill immediate needs, and they’ve highlighted Xuba’s strong tradition of sending doctors around the globe to serve in poor areas as proof of the ability of that nation’s physicians.

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