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JIS News

A total of 200 Jamaican children have to date benefited from surgeries under the Jamaica/Cuba Eye Care Programme.
“Some children as young as six months have gone to Cuba for surgeries,” said Liaison Officer for the programme based in Cuba, Delita McCallum.
She said, however, that she would like to see more children receiving surgeries and is encouraging parents, who are in need, to have their children screened.
“Like any other illness, if you treat eye conditions early, you have a better chance of success rather than waiting for example, until the illness has progressed and may prove more difficult to treat. You will definitely have better results if the condition is caught early,” Ms. McCallum told JIS News in an interview.
Some of the conditions treated in children are myopia (near sightedness), ptsosis (drooping eyelids), strabismus (cast eye) and congenital cataract. In addition, there is the implantation of eye prostheses, which has had excellent results according to Ms. McCallum, because after surgery, the difference can barely be noticed. “For a lot of children, their self esteem has improved after having implants of their prostheses,” she stated.
Ms. McCallum advised interested parents to contact the Ministry of Health and Environment at 967-1100 or Claudetta Williams-Yearde, Co-ordinator of the Jamaica/Cuba Eye Care Programme at 948-0017, for further information.
“A monthly roster is prepared and so they will know where the medical team is going and also look for the screening centres closest to where you live,” she expounded.
In August 2005, the Governments of the Republic of Cuba, Venezuela and Jamaica together with Caribbean partners, Dominica, Guyana, St. Lucia and Suriname, signed the historic Bilateral Agreement, ‘Mission Operation’, for their nationals to receive medical attention in the field of ophthalmology in Cuba.
The purpose of the programme is to provide much needed medical attention to the most vulnerable and the most needy in the various Latin American and Caribbean territories utilizing the best resources available in the region for the purpose.
Approximately 5,000 Jamaicans have benefited from surgeries since the inception of the programme in September 2005.