Authorities at the Ministry of Health and Wellness of Jamaica along with Cuban Ambassador to Jamaica, Inés Fors Fernández, officially welcomed at the office of this institution in New Kingston, St. Andrew, a group of forty Cuban health professionals who will render their services in Jamaica for the next three years.
The medical professionals will help to ease the problems created by the shortage of health care professionals in the country, especially doctors, nurses and technicians, including imaging technologists and will be assigned in different localities across the island.
In June, the ministry confirmed that it would process 212 nurses, 108 doctors, and 24 technicians. It also said a further 30 doctors would be given lessons in English to see whether or not they would also be processed, while nine technicians would do additional English lessons to see if they qualify.
At the welcoming ceremony, the Cuban ambassador to Kingston, Inés Fors, urged the doctors to keep up the ethical and professional values of medicine in the Greater Antilles.
Some 18 specialists are part of the “Miracle Mission”, within which some 16,000 operations have been carried out to improve or restore sight to Jamaicans with few resources.
The integration of Cuban professionals in Jamaica began in the 1970s when Cuban doctors and nurses joined their Jamaican counterparts in the healthcare sector of the country; when Cuban builders and engineers joined Jamaican workers and engineers in the construction of educational institutions and micro-dams, and when Jamaica/Cuba co-operation in sports and culture was birthed.
In 1976, the first medical brigade of 14 doctors arrived in Jamaica under a technical cooperation agreement. According to official data, in more than 40 years of work in Jamaica, Cubans have saved 2,541 lives, have applied 73,331 doses of vaccines, performed 30,761 surgical interventions and have offered more than 1.4 million consultations.
This latest importation of Cuban medical personnel will mark the largest number of medical recruits at any one time in Jamaica’s history.