(JAMAICA GLEANER) –The first batch of 21 specialist nurses from Cuba will arrive in the island on March 24, to boost the capacity of the health system to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“We’re trying to get about 100 additional specialist nurses in the system, focusing primarily on high intensity units or ICU (intensive care unit),” said Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton.
The minister, who was addressing a press briefing on March 13 at the Office of the Prime Minister, said the development follows discussions with the Cuban government.
He said that retired nurses are also being sought to help out at this time.
“I want to use the opportunity to encourage all professionals, who have reached retirement age but are still very skilled and experience, we’re inviting them back to work with us during this period and this is an official invitation,” he said.
In the meantime, Dr Tufton said that isolation areas are being identified at hospitals island-wide.
In western Jamaica, wards are being cleared out and equipped with the necessary furniture and equipment.
“We expect that in the coming weeks, we would have had a number of those wards up and running and the alternative arrangements made for persons, who would need to vacate those facilities,” Dr Tufton said.
He noted that with the allocation received from the Ministry of Finance and Public Service, orders have already been placed for items including ICU beds and ventilators to add to existing supplies.