Cuban gov't helps to establish localeye-care centre

Published: Friday | July 31, 2009

The establishment of an ophthalmology centre at St Joseph's Hospital will significantly improve eye care islandwide and regionally, Jamaica's health minister has said.

Rudyard Spencer said an agreement signed this week was part of Jamaica's ongoing cooperation with Cuba and will continue to facilitate access to eye-care services regardless of income.

"The ophthalmology centre will enable citizens to have greater access to eye care locally. This service will also be free of cost to Jamaicans and CARICOM nationals.

"We thank the Cuban govern-ment for their assistance in this very important initiative," Spencer said.

The Cuban government will provide specialist staff and equipment for the centre for a three-year period.


Persons will be screened for pathologies including cataract, pterygium and diabetic retinopathy. Other eye-related illnesses might be accepted through a process of ongoing evaluation.

Phase Two of the Jamaica-Cuba Eye Care Programme is under way with screenings taking place across the island. Under Phase One of the programme, more than 30,000 persons were screened and in excess of 4,500 surgeries were done for Jamaicans via trips to Cuba.