RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff on Friday spoke highly of the country's Mas Medicos program aimed at improving healthcare in small towns and isolated areas by hiring foreign doctors to work in these regions.
On the same day, 2,200 foreign doctors, among whom 2,000 are Cubans, concluded their three-week training course as part of the program, according to Cuba's Prensa Latina news agency.
Rousseff said 3,800 physicians will start to work by the end of October 2013, and the figure should reach 7,500 by the end of this year.
The program will benefit 46 million Brazilians, a quarter of the Brazilian population by April 2014, she said.
Last week, Rousseff signed a decree that allows the federal government to issue work permits to the foreign doctors participating in the program.
The permits should have been issued by the states' Medical Councils, many of which are opposed to the program since it does not require the involved doctors to take the Revalida, a medical exam that all doctors graduating abroad should pass to get a job in Brazil.
The government said the doctors in the program are being evaluated, and only those who pass the training courses will be allowed to stay and work.