Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Call made for suspension of Cuban eye care programme

Call made for suspension of Cuban eye care programme

A call is being made for an immediate suspension of the Cuban assistance
programme which provides free surgery to Jamaicans suffering from
serious eye problems.
It comes in the wake of reports that a large number of post-operation
patients have been suffering complications including loss of vision.

The call has come from Head of the Department of Opthalmology, at the
Kingston Public Hospital Dr. Albert Lue.

Dr. Lue, who brought the matter to public attention last week, has made
a recommendation to the Health Ministry that the Cuban programme be put
on hold until a detailed assessment is carried out.

He says this is needed to determine whether proper surgical procedures
are being carried out.

Speaking Monday on Beyond the Headlines, Dr. Lue said the number of
cases of post-operation complications is alarming.

It's reported that in a survey of 60 patients who recently returned to
Jamaica, three persons are now visually impaired, while 14 are suffering
serious corneal damage.

Dr. Lue is urging the Health Ministry to take steps to prevent more
persons from losing their sight.

Director of Policy Analysis in the Ministry of Health Dr. Eva Lewis
Fuller who also appeared on Beyond the Headlines Monday said the
Ministry has not yet decided whether to put the Cuban programme on hold.

More than 2,000 Jamaicans have received free eye surgery since the
programme started.

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