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Cuban health professionals deserve more credit: Slater

Cuban health professionals deserve more credit: Slater

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Minister of Health Dr Douglas Slater has described as unfortunate the fact that some citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines do not give credit to the Cuban Integrated Health Project.{{more}}

This project, the Minister said, has delivered millions of dollars worth of healthcare service to thousands of people in St.Vincent and the Grenadines. The Minister was speaking at a press conference last Thursday, September 16, to launch the new Health Information System.

Slater said that presently, there are about 17 Cuban health professionals in St.Vincent, including some still on the ‘Vision now’ programme. He said that they offer healthcare at a fraction of the cost that would have had to be paid to other professionals. Slater said that they are consultant physicians who are only paid a small stipend, but deliver the same service.

The Minister said that it is unfortunate that some citizens of St.Vincent and the Grenadines do not acknowledge this service. He said that instead of giving credit to it, the service was heavily criticized by some members of the public and the Opposition. Dr. Slater said that he has not really heard much, if anything, favorable mentioned about the programme, or encouraging words from the Opposition. Instead, we have heard about the cost of some food that was used to facilitate the delivery of the service.

He said: “I am not saying that civil servants do not have the responsibility of ensuring the proper expenditure of the public purse… but it is sad that we hear repeatedly the emphasis on what is relatively trivial. And it was encouraging, though, to hear some members of the public trying to quantify the cost of the service offered in this programme (Vision now)… but yet, what seemed to be more important was the few hundred dollars that was spent on feeding them.”

Slater said the government is also involved with the Cubans in constructing a medical complex in Georgetown, valued at close to $20 million, aimed at delivering dialysis and diagnostic services. He said that the Cubans provide most of the financing, but the Government also provides counterpart funding.(DC)