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In Policy Shift, Cuba Welcomes Back Doctors Who Deserted

Cuban doctors arrive for training before being assigned to work in impoverished areas where physicians and medical services are scarce, at the University of Brasilia in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 26, 2013.  Cuban doctors and foreign doctors from other countries are part of the "More Doctors" program to get more physicians working in underserved areas. All will have to spend their first three weeks in the country studying Brazil's public health system and Portuguese. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
Cuban doctors arrive for training before being assigned to work in impoverished areas where physicians and medical services are scarce, at the University of Brasilia in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

 

HAVANA, Cuba (The Tico Times) – Cuba has decided to allow doctors who deserted while on foreign missions to return home without punishment or loss of position in the state health care system, the government said Friday.

The action comes amid worries of a brain drain of Cuban medical professionals as the Communist-ruled island loosens long-time restrictions on emigration.

Doctors in particular have faced stringent restrictions on travel since the 1960s, and stiff sanctions awaited those who deserted from government-sponsored missions in foreign countries.

Under the new policy announced by the Health Ministry, doctors who deserted while on foreign missions are being welcomed back. They “have the opportunity, if they so desire, to rejoin our National Health System, and will be guaranteed work placement in conditions similar to those they had before,” a ministry statement said.

 

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