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Cuba medics sent to St Kitts to help in virus care

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(28 Mar 2020) Cuba deployed another medical team on Saturday to assist countries hard-hit by the coronavirus, joining 11 other teams around the world who are helping to deal with the fast-spreading disease. A team of 34 doctors and nurses departed for St Kitts and Nevis to assist local health staff on the Caribbean island. The US has criticized countries for accepting the medical teams, saying the Cuban health professionals are forced to take risks for little pay, and urged countries to reject medical assistance from the island. Cuba receives millions of dollars a year from its medical assistance programs, with the government pocketing 80% of the fees generated, with the remainder paid to the health professionals. But even though the medical teams receive low pay by international standards, their remuneration far exceeds what they can earn in Cuba, where a doctor’s average pay is just $70 a month. Cuba has sent teams to Italy, Venezuela, Suriname, Nicaragua, Jamaica and Grenada so far, and says other countries are asking for assistance to deal with the health crisis.

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