In May 2020, the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, presented the strategic plan to reduce the deficit of medical specialists in the country. It was thus that they increased to 18,929 places to study a specialty, an increase of 100% compared to 2019.
Months later and in the face of such a growth in positions, the federal government assured that there were already advanced negotiation processes with Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia and Cuba, to accept up to 1,600 doctors. However, the day the call for the program coordinated by the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt), it was announced that said agreement was only concluded with Cuba.
Thus, only 1,000 applicants from the specialties of pathological anatomy, epidemiology, geriatrics, rehabilitation, emergencies and psychiatrya could study them in that country. This situation has led young doctors to take a prompt decision: apply for the scholarship in Cuba before February 12 or lose your place and resubmit the National Examination of Applicants for Medical Residencies (ENARM) this year, as the president admitted in his “morning” of May 26, 2020, “Mexico does not have the quota to attend all doctors.”
“To go to Cuba you have to legalize documents in which you take around 15,000 pesos; the second step is to buy the flight, they already go like 27,000 pesos; In addition, you will receive the Conacyt scholarship in six months, while, you have to find where to rent, it is another country, it is another economy, you expose yourself to many things and the truth I don’t have all those resources, so we are in limbo ”, declared Jesús Sánchez, one of the applicants to the specialty of Rehabilitation medicine, in an interview with Infobae Mexico.
For the specialty in Rehabilitation 449 doctors were accepted, 149 of the places in Mexican territory and the 300 remaining in Cuba, although in the call of the Conacyt does not specify in which hospitals they may be attended.
Likewise, doctors question Cuba’s curricula, as they fear that the country does not have the necessary technology for academic development or university capacity so that “on the island they train, for example, 300 Mexicans in rehabilitation in addition to their own staff.” In addition, they ensure that there is no compatibility of academic programs between both countries, not even in the duration of the programs.
As if that were not enough, they point out that the convocation to Cuba is at no time clear regarding the study plans, venues, years and selection process, so they have tried to contact Conacyt, but have not received an answer to clarify their doubts.
“What we really demand is that respect our place in Mexico and give us a solution that is not to go to Cuba, because I have the certainty that I have a place, why? because I passed that exam. If from the beginning they had said, ‘They pass the exam, but there is nothing left for Cuba’, well, I think that right now we would not say anything, but the problem is that, they have not spoken to us clearly and nobody comes out to face us ” , Exposed the young doctor from Zitácuaro, Michoacán.
“I’m the one who wants to go to Cuba the most, but it seems like an impossible mission”
On the other hand, there are the resident doctors who do want to go to the only country with which Mexico signed the agreement; however, they have come across a series of obstacles to carry out the corresponding procedures and get your scholarship.
Alejandra Delgado, an aspiring physician to the specialty of geriatrics and originally from Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, told Infobae Mexico the “Stations of the Cross” that he had to go through in order to present all the required documentation to the Conacyt, the Ministry of the Interior (Segob), the Ministry of Foreign Relations and the Embassy of Cuba, dependencies that do not work normally due to the health contingency.
“From day one there have been many obstacles and all depending on the entity of the doctor or the university where he is. They are several pieces of paper that they are asking us and with everything about COVID, processing them has become an impossible mission. If I do not return them by February 12, I lose the right to my medical residency and my exam is invalidated (ENARM) ”, the young woman warned about the first stage of documentation in which she has already spent around 15,000 pesos.
Once those documents are approved, it remains to go with the Segob to legalize each one, a step in which the majority of applicants are detained, as the young woman commented that at the national level there is only one graduate who is leading the process of more than 300 doctors who also want to do their specialty in the Caribbean country.
“It is a single lawyer legalizing documents since the beginning of the month. He works from Monday to Sunday and all my colleagues are informed that we have to receive calls even at 2:00 in the morning because at that time you can contact us, “he explained.
The applicant confirmed to express question that even in the absence of information from the authorities of Mexico and Cuba, the lack of clarity in the call and the slow process of legalization “I am the one who wants to go to Cuba the most, but we are advancing blindly”.
“What we ask is that they give us time, that there is no such limit when they know that the institutions are closed due to COVID. We have been requesting every day that they please give us an extension but they say no because the legality of our ENARM is about to expire. I’m going to lose my medical specialties just because of bureaucracy“, lament.
In addition to this, this week Cuba announced that due to the outbreak of COVID-19, will temporarily reduce flights from various countries, including Mexico, a situation that further complicates the slow and unclear process for young residents, who fear that if they obtain the scholarship they will not be able to enter the Caribbean country, since it should be remembered that the last time the Cuban authorities made that decision, the borders remained closed about eight months.
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