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Cuba Eye Care center to open in Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica – On Tuesday, July 28th Jamaica and Cuba signed two agreements that will strengthen public health care services on the island.

The signing took place at Jamaica House with Minister of Health Ruddy 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.

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.

Minister of Health, Ruddy Spencer signs an agreement with the Ambassador of Cuba, Gisela Garcia Rivera to establish an Eye Care centre at St Joseph’s Hospital in Kingston that will provide ophthalmology services for the English speaking Caribbean.

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.

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