330 Eye Surgeries Performed at Jamaica/Cuba Ophthalmology Centre


More than 330 persons with serious eye conditions have received treatment at the Jamaica/Cuba Ophthalmology Centre in Kingston, since it started performing surgeries about a month ago.
Among them is 19-year-old Okeilo Downing, who is eager to return to school after having cataract removed from his right eye this morning (April 14).
Okeilo, who spoke to JIS News after the 35-minute surgery, shared that the cataract affected his vision and impacted upon his performance at school. “At school, we have the whiteboard with the marker. I wasn’t seeing as well. Sometimes I had to go to the front and when (the teacher) used the red marker I couldn’t see, only the blue marker I could see. So, I was straining my eyes,” he explained.
He informed that he had a similar operation on his left eye in Cuba under the Jamaica-Cuba Eye Care Programme and said he would “definitely recommend the programme to anyone with eye disease.”
Meanwhile, another patient, Ms. Carolene Pryce, also had high praise for the work of the staff at the clinic describing the service she received as “excellent.” Ms. Pryce spoke to JIS News after her pre-operation preparation as she waited to have pterygium removal surgery.
“The treatment I have received is A-1. The nurses, the doctors, just about everybody whom I’ve had to deal with really make you feel comfortable and at home, and I think this is the way it should be. You are maybe not feeling pains all over but you are still considered as sick. This is one of the most delicate organs of the body, the eyes, so you need to have confidence,” she said.
Health Minister, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, Cuban Ambassador, His Excellency Yuri Gala Lopez, and other officials toured the facility today, which is located at the
St. Joseph’s Hospital in Kingston. The facility, which opened late January under the Jamaica/Cuba Eye Care Programme, provides free eye services to Jamaicans and other Caribbean nationals.
Mr. Spencer said he was very pleased about the operations of the centre and impressed by the number of surgeries that have already been conducted.
“They are not up to their optimal in terms of performing surgeries, so I can expect significantly more surgeries to be performed,” Minister Spencer stated, adding that the project was an example of what can be achieved through collaboration.
For his part, Ambassador Lopez lauded the collaboration between the Governments of Cuba and Jamaica on the project. He noted that the centre was completed just six months after the co-operation agreement between the countries was signed.
“We are very happy and we look forward to the continued success of this beautiful project that will benefit the Jamaican people and some other nationals from the region,” he stated.

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