Minister Dalley Hails Cuba’s Support to Developing Countries

Photo: file Newly appointed Minister of Health, the Hon. Horace Dalley

Story Highlights

  • Health Minister, Hon. Horace Dalley, has hailed Cuba’s spirit of “internationalism” demonstrated through its provision of critical development support to several countries, particularly to developing nations like Jamaica.
  • Mr. Dalley was speaking at a recent ceremony for the renewal of Jamaica’s bilateral cooperation with Cuba for the provision of technical support to the local health sector, at the Health Ministry’s offices in New Kingston.
  • Cuba’s inputs have involved, among other things, the provision of services by over 50,000 professionals.

Health Minister, Hon. Horace Dalley, has hailed Cuba’s spirit of “internationalism” demonstrated through its provision of critical development support to several countries, particularly to developing nations like Jamaica.

He noted that “Cuba has never failed to respond to the call (for assistance) anywhere in the world, during times of natural disaster or difficulties,” pointing to the country’s response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa last year.

Mr. Dalley was speaking at a recent ceremony for the renewal of Jamaica’s bilateral cooperation with Cuba for the provision of technical support to the local health sector, at the Health Ministry’s offices in New Kingston.

Jamaica is among 68 nations that enjoy bilateral relations with Cuba in several areas, including health, education and training, agriculture, tourism, and trade.

Cuba’s inputs have involved, among other things, the provision of services by over 50,000 professionals.

Mr. Dalley noted that hundreds of Jamaicans have benefitted significantly from cooperation in health care, particularly under the Jamaica-Cuba ‘Operation Miracle’ eye-care programme.

Jamaica is among 14 countries that have partnered with Cuba to undertake the Operation Miracle programme. The initiative has benefitted over two million patients whose sight has either been recovered or improved.

Mr. Dalley informed that since the establishment of the Ophthalmological Centre at St. Joseph’s Hospital in 2010, more than 24,000 patients have benefitted with just over 17,000 undergoing various surgical procedures.

Jamaica has also benefitted from the services of various categories of health care professionals.

Currently, there are 71 such personnel in the island, inclusive of doctors and nurses, who are providing services in general comprehensive medicine, pathology, neonatology, nephrology, nursing and health technology, and ophthalmology.

Mr. Dalley noted further that hundreds of Jamaican medical students have had the opportunity to study free of cost in Cuba, citing 71 recipients of medical scholarships, who returned to Jamaica last year.

The Minister said Cuba has also benefitted from support, which Jamaica has provided in the areas of agriculture, training, and tourism.

In noting that Jamaica was the first Caribbean country to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba, doing so in 1972, Mr. Dalley expressed the nation’s “sincere appreciation for this cooperation that we have enjoyed over the past 43 years.”

For his part, Cuba’s Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Bernardo Hernández, pointed out that his country shares its “modest resources” with many other developing countries through “genuine international cooperation,” adding that the neighbouring island “will continue contributing to the social development of others.”

Director of Health Services Planning and Integration in the Ministry, Dr. Lundie Richards, who benefitted from medical training in Cuba, also expressed gratitude for the collaboration, adding that “we…look forward to greater things to come, certainly, as we look at the continued friendship.”

The agreements signed were: to facilitate recruitment of additional health care workers and biomedical engineers from Cuba; and renew of support for the operation of the Ophthalmological Centre.

Both agreements are being administered by Jamaica’s Health Ministry, in partnership with Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health.

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