JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The health sector has been strengthened with the arrival of 20 Cuban medical professionals.
  • Among the health professionals are two pathologists and three dentists.
  • The other health professionals in the group include: three general practitioners, one neonatologist, five neonatology nurse, one primary health care nurse, four nephrology nurses and one nephrologist.

The health sector  has been strengthened with the arrival of 20 Cuban medical professionals, who will be placed across the four Regional Health Authorities in the island.

Speaking at the welcoming ceremony on November 15, at the Bustamante Hospital for Children,  in Kingston, Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, informed that among the health professionals are two pathologists and three dentists.

“This is historical for us, as we have never had these groups of health professionals from Cuba in our public service,” he said.

The Minister  noted that the pathologists will facilitate quicker turn-around time of specimen in the National Public Health Lab and more effective and efficient services for cancer patients, while the dentists will allow for more focus to be placed on dental health care, especially at the community level.

The  other health professionals in the group include: three general practitioners, one neonatologist, five neonatology nurse, one primary health care nurse, four nephrology nurses and one nephrologist.

Dr. Ferguson said that while it is important for Jamaica to build on human resource and ensure that there is access to specialist training in areas where the requisite skills are unavailable in the island, procuring those skills from partners in Cuba is important for the efficient maintenance of the island’s health system.

“We have to be mindful that it takes two to three years to graduate a specialist in the health sector and we continue to lose our highly trained workers to developed countries they consider greener pastures in terms of  the competitiveness of salary and benefits,” he said.

Dr. Ferguson added that the Government has to use recruitment of human resource from overseas partners as one of  the  strategies to fill positions in the public health sector.

The  Minister thanked the Government and people of Cuba for their continued support,  and noted that the move is another demonstration of the strong partnership that exists.

He  encouraged the health professionals to enjoy their time in the country, “notwithstanding the very hard work that awaits you. I urge you as well to take some time to enjoy the beauty of the island and the rewards of serving in the health field.”

Dr. Ferguson informed that since 2012 the Governments of Jamaica and Cuba have signed four bilateral agreements in relation to: the Jamaica/Cuba Ophthalmology Centre, the Agency Agreement in support of the Biomedical Services Arrangement, Spare Parts Agreement and the Technical Co-operation Agreement.

The  health authorities  to which the health professionals will be sent are: the Southern Regional Health Authority; South East Regional Health Authority; Northeast Regional Health Authority and the Western Regional Health Authority.