HAVANA, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- Cuban government will allow health professionals who defected during collaboration missions abroad to return to the island and work under the National Health System.
"The Ministry of Public Health reiterates its willingness to allow its professionals, who abandon their collaboration missions, to return to Cuba and reintegrate into the National Health System,..." said an official release published on Friday by Cuba's official daily Granma.
At present there are some 50,000 Cuban health workers in over 60 countries "providing their services with a deep humanist vocation and solidarity, and able to adapt themselves to difficult conditions", informed the government text.
Several doctors and other specialists on the island deserted in recent years encouraged by the Parole Program for Cuban Medical Professionals, established in 2006 by the U.S. President George W. Bush, and cancelled three weeks ago by his successor Barack Obama as one of his last actions to boost the ties with Havana. The program allowed certain Cuban medical personnel in third countries to apply for parole at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
The sale of medical services overseas is considered the main income of strong currency for the Caribbean island with reported eight billion U.S. dollars a year, followed by the tourism industry with around three billion dollars.
"Although this last modality represents an economic contribution to the sustainability and development of the national health system, the missions do not lose their solidarity character because our doctors work in regions where professionals from those countries refuse to go ", said the release of Cuban Government.
According to Cuban Health Ministry, the income from the sale of medical services allows Cuba to support other nations with extreme socioeconomic limitations, and contribute to the formation of thousands of foreign professionals at the Latin American School of Medicine.
It also contributes to support multiple missions fulfilled by the Henry Reeve International Medical Contingent, which received the Public Health Award granted by the World Health Organization this week.
Algeria was the first country to receive a Cuban medical mission in 1962, headed by Dr. Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, current Second Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba.