Fri | Dec 4, 2020

Help from Cuba - 140 healthcare professionals join Ja’s fight against virus

Published:Monday | March 23, 2020 | 12:13 AMRomario Scott - Gleaner Writer
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton welcomes 140 Cuban medical professionals who arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston yesterday. The group will be quarantined for 14 days then dispatched across the island in the fight against COVID-19.
140 Cuban healthcare professionals departing the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston yesterday.
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Some 140 healthcare workers from Cuba arrived in the island yesterday as Jamaica seeks to boost its capacity to contain and treat the dreaded COVID-19 that has triggered the lockdown of the country’s air and seaports.

Cargo, however, will still be allowed in and out of the country. And persons can also leave the island.

Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton told The Sunday Gleaner yesterday that the Cubans will be quarantined for 14 days and then deployed in the public health sector across the island.

The practitioners arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston and were greeted by Tufton and Cuban Ambassador to Jamaica, Inés Fors Fernández.

The health ministry said the Cuban professionals comprise 90 nurses specialising in critical care, emergency, medical-surgical and primary care; a team of 46 doctors who are internists and haematologists; and four therapists.

“We’re trying to get about 100 additional specialist nurses in the system, focusing primarily on high intensity units or ICU (intensive care unit),” Tufton had said at a press briefing on Friday.

Rodrigo Malmierca, the Cuban minister of foreign affairs, trade and foreign investment, wrote on Twitter that “Brigades of health collaborators travel to fulfil solidarity missions”, posting a picture of scores of men and women clad in white just before their deployment.

Cubans health professionals are also expected to arrive in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Suriname and Grenada, as the Caribbean region braces for the full impact of the infectious respiratory illness that has now spread to 182 countries across the world, infecting approximately 266,073 persons and killing some 11,184 individuals.

Yesterday, Cuba had 21 confirmed cases of the disease, compared to 19 in Jamaica. Both countries have so far recorded one death.

Tufton is appealing to medical students, doctors, and retired nurses and medical professionals, who are still able, to assist in hospitals and health facilities. They can also volunteer at the National Emergency Operations Centre with the publication of information and education, telecommunications, administration, finance and operations.

Interested persons are asked email BPOcovid19@moh.gov.jm.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com