Jamaica and Cuba yesterday (July 28) signed two agreements that will strengthen public health care services here.
The signing took place at Jamaica House with Minister of Health Hon. Rudyard Spencer representing the Government of Jamaica and the outgoing Ambassador of Cuba, Gisela Garcia Rivera, signing on behalf of the Cuban Government.
Under the first agreement, the Cuban Government will provide specialist eye care staff and some equipment for the Centre over a three year period. Jamaica will in turn provide the Cuban medical team with services including accommodation, travel and meals. The Centre will be located at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Kingston and its services will be available to ophthalmology patients from the entire English speaking Caribbean.
This is the culmination of an offer of an eye care center made some time ago by former Cuban President Fidel Castro.
Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer receives a copy of the of the agreement between Jamaica and Cuba for the establishment of an Eye Care Centre at St Joseph’s Hospital in Kingston from the Ambassador of Cuba, Gisela Garcia Rivera. The Centre will be equipped by Cuba and staffed for three years by Cuban eye care specialists. Jamaica will provide all local services for the Cuban medical team. The centre will provide ophthalmology services for the English speaking Caribbean. Signing was at Jamaica House on July 28.
The other agreement is to extend the technical co-operation between the two countries for an additional two years. This will provide 85 Cuban health specialists, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and lab technicians for the nation’s public health system.
In his brief address, Minister Spencer thanked the Government of Cuba and said that it would go a far way towards meeting the eye care and other medical needs of the country.
Ambassador Garcia Rivera said that the centre was a dream of Commandante Fidel Castro and that although he was no longer the President, the Government of Cuba is carrying out his instructions to have the project completed. “Jamaica had a special place in the hearts of Cubans,” she said.
She disclosed that some 6,000 Jamaicans had received eye operations in Cuba and there is demand for eye care services for some 50,000 persons.