An additional 30 Cuban medical professionals will arrive in Jamaica on Thursday (February 27) to further bolster the Government’s delivery of quality healthcare services.

This was disclosed by Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, at a signing ceremony for the renewal of the Technical Cooperation Agreement with the Ministry of  Public Health of the Republic of Cuba, at the New Kingston offices of the Ministry, on Tuesday (February 25).

Dr. Tufton noted that there are currently 276 Cuban medical professionals in the island, and that the latest batch is as a result of ongoing bilateral agreements between the Governments of Cuba and Jamaica.

The Minister said that the Government and people of Jamaica are “profoundly grateful” to the Government and people of Cuba for the continued collaboration.

He noted that the agreement, which has been renewed for another three years, follows a third Bilateral Agreement of Technical Cooperation that was signed between both Governments in 2015, “extending Cuba’s commitment to continue to assist Jamaica in the building out of our capacity to offer specialist care in various areas”.

The Minister said that the first Bilateral Agreement of Cooperation for the establishment of a Centre of Excellence was signed between both Governments in 2009. Jamaica welcomed the first of four medical brigades from Cuba to provide eye-care services for Jamaica in 2010.

“The Bilateral Agreement has also allowed for the interweaving of Cuban medical professionals into the fabric of our health system and at all levels of our health system and all levels of our healthcare. All of our regional health authorities will report the commitment, capacity and care offered by our Cuban health workforce,” he said.

In the meantime, Ambassador of Cuba to Jamaica, Her Excellency Inés Fors Fernández, who signed the new agreement along with Dr. Tufton, said it marks a significant milestone in both countries’ ongoing collaboration.

“It formalises and deepens the partnership between our two countries. The agreement gives response to the demanding times we are living in today and will contribute to face the current complex challenges in the health sector,” she said.

The Ambassador further pointed out that new avenues of bilateral cooperation between Cuba and Jamaica could be opened.

These, she said, include disease control and prevention, with particular focus on emergency preparedness, surveillance and response, promotion of health in relation to environment-related risk factors, public health capacity, dissemination of evidence-based best practices for prevention and control of diseases, empowerment of people and building of resilience and capacity to promote health, and achievement of high-quality care and improvement of health outcomes, among others.