Some 3,000 Cuban doctors will be on their way to Brazil starting Monday to join the 2,400 already participating in a government program to recruit foreign professionals to provide medical services in some of the poorest, most remote regions of the country, authorities said Saturday.

This is the third group of Cuban doctors to join Brazil's "Mas Medicos" (More Doctors) program following the 400 pioneers who arrived a little more than a month ago and the 2,000 who were sent last Sunday, in a special operation of the Brazilian air force, to the places where they will practice.

The new group, which will initially land in five state capitals over the next two weeks, will take up positions offered by the "Mas Medicos" program that have not yet been filled by medical professionals from Brazil or from any other countries, according to a communique released Saturday by the Health Ministry.

Before being sent to those remote areas, the Cubans will take part in a three-week adaptation process in the cities of Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Fortaleza, Belo Horizonte and Vitoria, where they must demonstrate their mastery of Portuguese and pass medical exams to confirm their professional expertise.

The purpose of the government program is to contract a total of 12,996 doctors by March 2014 and send them to municipalities lacking in healthcare, where they will make medical services available to some 22.7 million people.

The project has already incorporated 3,664 professionals - 819 Brazilians and 2,845 foreigners - who practice in 1,098 municipalities and 19 indigenous districts, mostly in the country's north and northeast, the poorest regions in Brazil.

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