Over 100 doctors, 200 nurses coming

JAMAICA’S health care system will benefit from the injection of more than 100 doctors and well over 200 nurses — all coming from Cuba.

The Jamaica Observer was informed last week that a 12-member team of Jamaican Ministry of Health and Wellness personnel went to Cuba between June 5 and 14 to recruit the Cubans in order to fill a major shortage of health care personnel here, specifically for doctors, nurses and technicians, including imaging technologists.

Interviews were all done in English and held in the socialist country’s capital city of Havana, with candidates drawn from all parts of the north Caribbean island for the exercise. Overall, 253 nurses, 193 doctors and 46 technicians were interviewed. The Health and Wellness Ministry has since confirmed that it will process 212 nurses, 108 doctors, and 24 technicians. A further 30 doctors will be given lessons in English to see whether or not they will also be processed. Nine technicians will also do additional English lessons to see if they qualify.

The latest importation of Cuban medical personnel will mark the largest number of medical recruits at any one time in Jamaica’s history.

A majority of the doctors, all specialists, will serve mainly in the primary health care sector (health centres) of the health ministry. The decision to emphasise primary care in the latest initiative is to allow people living in communities to receive maximum attention from health centres in their locations, and to take some amount of pressure off the hospitals, the outpatients departments of which are crowded every day.

Over 80 per cent of the recruited doctors are vastly experienced, having been on international medical missions, including postings in Brazil, Venezuela, South Africa and the Caribbean, the Sunday Observer understands.

The nurses, the Sunday Observer has learned, will be placed at hospitals, although some will operate from health centres.