20 Cuban Medical Personnel Arrive in the Island to Support the Public Health Sector- Jamaica


Two pathologists and three dentists are among the twenty Cuban medical personnel who have arrived in the island and will be placed in the various health regions as part of efforts to improve the human resource capacity in the public health sector.

Minister of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson says the acquisition of these two groups of health personnel is historic as it will be the first time that these categories from Cuba would be joining the health team in Jamaica.

Speaking at the official welcome ceremony for the group held at the Bustamante Hospital for Children on Friday afternoon, Dr. Ferguson said “the pathologists will facilitate quicker turn-around time of specimen in the national public health lab and therefore more effective and efficient services for cancer patients for example. The dentists will allow us to place more focus on dental health care especially at the community level. As you know this is one of my passions being a dental surgeon myself and keen about improving overall health care at the primary level.”

Other groups of health professionals in the batch include three (3) general practitioners, one (1) neonatologist, five (5) neonatology nurses, one (1) primary health care nurse, four (4) nephrology nurses, and one (1) nephrologist.

Dr. Ferguson explained that while it is important for us to build on our human resource and ensure that there is access to specialist training in areas where we do not have the requisite skills available, procuring those skills from our partners such as Cuba is important for the efficient maintenance of the health system.

“I want to stress that the skills that we have requested from Cuba are for areas where we do not have the personnel available at all locally or in sufficient quantities. We have to be mindful that it takes 2-4 years to graduate a specialist in the health sector and we continue to lose our highly trained workers to developed countries they consider greener pastures in terms of competitiveness of salary and benefits. We therefore have to use recruitment of human resource from overseas partners as one of our strategies to fill positions in the public health sector,” he said.

Since 2012, the Government has signed four bilateral agreements with Cuba in relation to the Jamaica/Cuba Ophthalmology Centre, the Agency Agreement in support of the Biomedical Services Arrangement, Spare Parts Agreement and the Technical Cooperation Agreement.

In December 2012, the two countries celebrated forty (40) years of diplomatic relations.

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