GUYANA
FACTS
Health workers: 110
Other: 90
Cumulative: 3,700 (up to 20,00)
Mission status: Active
AGREEMENTS
MOST RECENT AGREEMENT
DURATION: +7 YEARS (2012)
STARTED: 2012
AGREEMENT SIGNER: Guyana’s Ministry
of Foreign Affairs
PREVIOUS AGREEMENTS
Agreement made in 2006, through the
Ministry of Foreign Trade and International
Cooperation, that created four integrated
medical centers with modern technology, in
Essequibo, Leonora, Diamond and
Mahaicony, and one ophthalmology center
in Port Mourant.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Geographic areas: 8 out of 10 regions
Health areas: General medicine,
ophthalmology, stomatology,
epidemiology medical imaging
Documented cases: Yes
Documented agreement : NO
Current facts:
• Active personnel: 200
• Defections: 40 (estimated)
• Did not return to Cuba: 40 (est.)
• Prohibited from returning: 50 (est.)
Official statistics available: Yes
Most relevant violations: Workers not
given their signed contract; their passport
is taken after they go through customs;
they are monitored; they do not have their
licenses; residential curfew; retaliatory acts;
workload in excess of 64 hours per week;
and forced falsification of statistics.

SUMMARY

Cuba’s medical cooperation in Guyana began in 1976, and since then, more than 3,700 Cuban medical professionals have completed missions in that country. Today there are 200 professionals there, although in recent years, as far back as 2006, there were only dozens. The Cuban doctors ostensibly helped meet the lack of doctors in Guyana, but the problem remains, due mainly to Guyana’s doctors emigrating to neighboring countries because of low salaries at home. The contracting of Cuban doctors to make up for this lack creates a vicious circle that not only does not solve, but exacerbates, the problem given the low wages these receive ($600-700 per month), against which Guyanese doctors who receive $1,000 per month cannot compete (and when they can be paid more, for example, around $2,500 per month in the U.S.). The Cuban doctors, who charge a fraction of what Guyanese doctors charge, have even been accused of soliciting additional payments patients. The language barrier is also a problem for the provision of medical care, given that the Cuban doctors rotate out of Guyana every two years. It is clear that Guyana has difficulty retaining domestic doctors but it does not address this problem because of the Cuban “solution,” even if it makes the professionals indentured workers and with deficient services due to language barriers and lack of continuity.

DOCUMENTED CASES

Anonymous: 3, through questionnaires
Documented violations: Yes
Not anonymous: None
Public (media): 3

Findings: More than 64 work hours per week; confiscation of passports and of
signed contracts; constant monitoring; impediments to obtaining licenses and
prohibition on driving; imposition of a curfew; residences with many deficiencies;
retaliation against colleagues and falsification of statistics; and numerous violations
stemming from Resolution 168. The Cuban government pays the doctors $700 per
month, keeping for itself four to five times that amount

NAMES OF CHIEFS OF MISSIONS

(Pending)

RELEVANT NEWS ARTICLES AND OTHER ITEMS

Cuba y Guyana afianzan sus relaciones históricas
Ministra de Salud de Guyana destaca importancia de la cooperación médica cubana
Tres médicos cubanos habrían escapado de Guyana
Other media may be available in the repository
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