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Premier Joseph Farrell, Parliamentary Secretary Veronica Dorsette-Hector and members of the Cuban medical contingent at the John A. Osborne Airpot on Thursday, Marc 31, 2022. (ZJB News at Six Photo)

Montserrat Surprised by Sudden Recall of Cuban Medical Team

The island’s medical sector is reeling from the surprise withdrawal of the Cuban medical team.

Since July 2020, Cuba has been sending cohorts of medical experts comprising doctors and nurses to support Montserrat’s understaffed health sector.

Premier Joseph Farrell and Parliamentary Secretary Veronica Dorsett-Hector were at the John A. Osborne Airport on Thursday to bid farewell to the Cuban medical contingent.

On Monday in his 2022/23 Budget Speech, Premier Farrell noted that “the Government of Montserrat continues to build on its relationship with the Cuban Government to ensure that essential services are readily available through the island’s healthcare system. We currently have access to a ten-member contingent consisting of an Obstetrician/Gynaecologist, a Paediatrician, a Physician Specialist, a Physiotherapist and six nurses.”

The premier acknowledged the significant impact of the team on Montserrat’s health care. He said it has resulted in clearing patient backlog, reduction in the cases of overseas referrals, and filling of vacancies throughout the system as well as providing medical care for those specialists who were unable to visit the island.

Premier Farrell added that his government was “keen to maintain this valuable cooperation agreement with the Republic of Cuba for key areas of our healthcare delivery.”

Today’s surprise withdrawal, one official noted, was above the local government’s pay grade.

The Ministry of Health in a statement late Thursday said “As the team leaves us, we will continue to engage with the Republic of Cuba to develop a longer-term arrangement for the provision of medical personnel. The Government of Montserrat would like to convey its appreciation to the doctors and nurses and the Republic of Cuba for their services to the people of Montserrat.”