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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH), Dr. Angella Mattis, is reporting that the Bright Journey Medical Mission team has completed almost 200 cataract surgeries in the first week and a half of the mission.
  • The 50-member team from China, comprising ophthalmologists, nurses, and technical support staff, which arrived in the island on March 27, is looking to perform surgeries on more than 500 Jamaicans at KPH up to April 27.
  • Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank, Dr. Mattis said that just over 50 per cent of patients screened have been deemed fit to have the procedure done.

Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH), Dr. Angella Mattis, is reporting that the Bright Journey Medical Mission team has completed almost 200 cataract surgeries in the first week and a half of the mission.

The 50-member team from China, comprising ophthalmologists, nurses, and technical support staff, which arrived in the island on March 27, is looking to perform surgeries on more than 500 Jamaicans at KPH up to April 27.

Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank, Dr. Mattis said that just over 50 per cent of patients screened have been deemed fit to have the procedure done.

“To date, over 600 patients have been screened and approximately 350 have been selected and we will continue to screen and continue to add to our list in the next two and a half weeks,” she said.

She explained that for the other persons, who did not qualify for surgery, this was due to co-morbid conditions that were not under control. These include glaucoma, high blood pressure and diabetes.

“They have to be fit for surgery before the (procedure) is undertaken; we don’t want other complications happening,” Dr. Mattis noted.

“So based on our screenings, so far, where approximately 50 per cent of those screened were qualified, we really have to screen about 1,000 patients to get the 500 that we are targeting,” she told JIS News.

Meanwhile, KPH Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Natalie Whylie, is advising persons to come in with their referral letters from family physicians, hospitals or health centres to be screened.

“We will assess the letters quickly and, if it is possible, depending on what is happening on the ground, for the patients to be seen that day. If not, we will screen the patients quickly and give them a date. Hopefully, if they meet the criteria for this mission, they can be included,” she said.

She pointed out that the Ophthalmology Clinic gets more than 50 referrals daily (outside of the mission) and will have to do an assessment to determine the cases that are urgent and those that can be deferred.

The Bright Journey Medical Mission first visited Jamaica in 2015. It is part of a commitment that was made by Chinese President Xi Jinping to CARICOM leaders in 2013 to expand public health cooperation with Caribbean countries.