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Jamaica-Cuba Eye Care Programme resumes

Sept. 14, 2023


KINGSTON, Jamaica. Wednesday, September 13, 2023: Jamaicans will again benefit from the provision of eye care services under the Jamaica-Cuba Eye Care Programme.

Speaking at a quarterly press briefing held today (Wednesday), the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton informed that the programme has resumed.

“Nine members of the Cuban Eye Care team arrived on the island in July and are presently working out of the Kingston Public Hospital. The rest of the 18-member team is on standby to come to Jamaica in November,” the Minister said.

“Clients on the registers of the Jamaica-Cuba Eye Care programme are now being contacted to determine if the need for surgery still exists. Some 6,458 clients have been assessed thus far and 5,863 have been deemed to be still in need of surgery,” the Minister added.

Screening at KPH by Cuban Professionals

Clients are also being screened for opthalmological procedures by the Cuban team at the Kingston Public Hospital to address the backlog of surgeries there. Clients who are on waiting lists for Cataract surgeries, Pterygiums and Diabetic Retinopathy are being screen and treated.

“So far, 528 patients have been screened and 155 are preparing for Cataract Surgery; 132 have been screened for Diabetic Retinopathy and 180 laser treatments done; and 10 pterygium surgeries have been completed,” the Minister said.


Repairs to St. Joseph’s Hospital

At the same time, the Ministry is advanced in moving the operations of the Eyecare programme to the St. Joseph’s Hospital and has embarked upon refurbishing of that space. This is expected to be completed by November 1, 2023, and will include both clinical space for pre- and post-operative care. The operating theatre space will be ready for use by the end of this month.

The island’s public health service delivery is set to be enhanced by the Jamaica-Cuba partnership which will see collaboration between the Cuban Specialists and Ophthalmology Departments at major hospitals; equipment maintenance support; and the sharing of knowledge to local clinicians.