Scores of Jamaicans now have a clearer vision of the future, having benefitted from the services offered by Cuban specialists under the Jamaica/Cuba Eye Care Programme.This intervention has afforded them the opportunity to undergo treatment for eye conditions that would have otherwise been costly, free of charge.Launched in January 2010, the local programme seeks to help reduce preventable blindness in adults, through surgical treatment for persons suffering from three specific conditions.These are: Cataracts, Diabetic Retinopathy (damage to the retina caused by complications of diabetes) and Pterygium (a non-cancerous fleshy growth, usually on the surface of the eye).According to the programme’s Co-ordinator, Gregory Thomas, since its inception, over 4,200 surgeries have been performed; and over 3, 790 patients have received surgical treatment. This is in addition to the over 46, 000 consultations that have been conducted.He told JIS News that the programme evolved from the five-year, Jamaica/Cuba Eye Care Project, which previously saw persons being screened for various eye conditions in Jamaica and sent to Cuba for treatment. During that period, 2005 to 2009, over 5,600 surgeries were performed.“The first Bilateral Agreement of Co-operation between the Governments of Jamaica and the Republic of Cuba for the establishment of an Ophthalmology Centre of Excellence in Jamaica (at the St. Josephs Hospital in Kingston), where persons would be treated for eye disorders here instead of having to seek treatment abroad, was signed on July 28, 2009. This marked the end of an era spanning five years and the beginning of a new one,” he said.Explaining how the programme works, Mr. Thomas said care is delivered to patients in four phases: Screening (Diagnosis and Selection); Pre-Surgical Evaluation (Clinical, Ophthalmic and Optometric tests); Surgery; and Post-Surgical treatment (four visits).“Prospective patients need to expect that when they turn up for a screening session, every effort will be made to provide them with a diagnosis. If their condition is treatable under the programme then they can expect to be issued an appointment for Pre-Surgical Evaluation (Pre-Op) within weeks of being screened. If they cannot be treated by us, we will refer them to the most appropriate public health facility for treatment,” he explained.“Upon completion of Pre-Op, patients are issued with an appointment for surgery along with instructions to follow leading up to surgery,” Mr. Thomas added.He noted that it is imperative that on the day of surgery, patients are accompanied by an adult, preferably a family member. Cataract and Pterygium Surgeries are done at St. Joseph’s Hospital, while Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy takes place at the National Chest Hospital in Kingston.To access the programme, persons may visit their health centre, family doctor or ophthalmologist to obtain a referral which they would take, along with a valid ID and contact telephone numbers, to a location where screening is being conducted, Mr. Thomas told JIS News.The Co-ordinator pointed out that screening is an important part of the process, as it is here that persons are evaluated to determine whether they are eligible for treatment under the programme.He noted that while most screenings are conducted at the Jamaica/Cuba Ophthalmology Centre in Kingston (National Chest Hospital), screenings are also done in other health facilities across the Island.“Screening has been on-going. Between January 2010 and December 2012, over 15, 000 persons were screened in over 60 locations…We intend to screen at least another 5,000 persons during the current calendar year,” he informed.Mr. Thomas said plans are now in place to improve the programme. He notes that efforts are being made to shorten the turn-around time between the time of selection of the patient and the time the patient receives surgery.He pointed out that the programme will continue to provide the highest level of care to patients to keep the number of complications to a minimum.“Since the start of the programme, there has been only one case of serious complication of the over 4, 200 surgeries performed,” he noted.The Cuban Government has the gratitude of the Jamaicans who have benefitted and will benefit, as well as the appreciation of the Government of Jamaica which has been enjoying diplomatic relations with Cuba for the past 40 years.Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson has expressed appreciation for the assistance the Government has received, particularly in the area of health.“Jamaica is most appreciative of this internationalist medical service from Cuba, always in a spirit of goodwill and humanism. We are forever indebted to the Cuban government and the people of Cuba,” he said, following a tour of the screening centre and ophthalmology ward at the National Chest Hospital.Dr. Ferguson noted that the eye project had brought huge benefits to eye patients in the country, and mentioned the relief which patients experienced when their sight is restored.For further information, persons can contact the offices of the Jamaica/Cuba Eye Care Programme, located at the Ministry of Health, 2-4 King Street, Kingston, at telephone numbers: 948-0017 or 924-9287; fax: 948-0017 or via e-mail: email@example.comBy Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter
zoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license Greece-based bulker owner Diana Shipping has agreed to extend the present time charter contract with Cargill International for one of its Post-Panamax dry bulk vessels, the m/v Polymnia.As informed, the gross charter rate is USD 16,000 per day for a period of minimum fourteen to maximum seventeen months.The new charter period for the 98,704 dwt ship is expected to commence on July 8, 2018.The Post-Panamax vessel is currently chartered to Cargill at a gross charter rate of USD 10,100 per day.The employment extension of the 2012-built Polymnia is anticipated to generate approximately USD 6.72 million of gross revenue for the minimum scheduled period of the time charter extension, Diana Shipping said.Diana Shipping’s fleet currently consists of 50 dry bulk vessels. As of today, the combined carrying capacity of the company’s fleet is approximately 5.8 million dwt with a weighted average age of 8.86 years.
zoomImage by WMN Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri has signed contracts with the Shanghai City’s District of Baoshan to set up a cruise hub dedicated to support the shipbuilding and maritime activities in the cruise sector.The hub builds upon the agreements between Fincantieri, CSSC and Carnival Corporation & plc announced in February 2017 for the construction of two cruise ships, the first ever made in China for the local market.The deal for the first two ships is worth around USD 1.5 billion. The ships are planned to be built for the Chinese market at the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS) yard, a facility of CSSC Group. The first delivery is expected in 2023.Fincantieri said that the hub will act as a fundamental industrial basin to supply this production. As disclosed, 70% of the total value of a modern cruise ship is realized through the supply.Under the deal, the district will provide financing, tax commercial and administrative benefits, land for necessary development and other resources, in hope of attracting foreign investors and suppliers to the district.“Fincantieri has given a broad support to the district in defining the preferential policies to attract suppliers and will promote the park in its network and in the industry as a whole, as a foundation for the companies which want to access to the opportunities of this project. In this way, the group will become a lever for the establishment in China of its supply chain or of other SMBs, which would greatly benefit from this operation,” the shipbuilder commented.This project is part of the initiatives undertaken by Fincantieri in China aimed at developing the local cruise market, which in the coming days could reach new goals.