Barbados & Cuba Joint Initiative To Prevent Amputations

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and President of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel, shake hands following their wide-ranging discussions at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, yesterday. (Photo credit: T. Barker/BGIS)

Barbados stands to benefit from Cuban expertise in the treatment of diabetes. 

This development comes following extensive discussions on a range of issues between Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and the President of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, yesterday.

Ms. Mottley disclosed that a drug developed by the Cuban Government could prove effective in attacking diabetic ulcers that impair the quality of life of those living with diabetes.

Speaking at the end of a bilateral meeting attended by Cuban officials, members of parliament and other senior government officials on day one of the Eighth CARICOM-Cuba Summit at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Ms. Mottley stressed that the country was in the middle of a diabetes epidemic, and the situation had caused “too much pressure on the healthcare system”.

The Prime Minister gave the assurance that the regulatory agencies of both countries would be consulting “as a matter of urgency” to determine how Barbadians could benefit from medication developed by the Cuban Government.

 Ms. Mottley said the aim would be “to reduce the number of our own families who are regrettably, exposed to this awful condition”. She also noted that an accord had been struck on post basic training for nurses in ophthalmology, glaucoma and other eye-related conditions. 

While acknowledging that Barbados and other Caribbean countries had benefitted from the Cuban Eye Programme, Operación Milagro, the Prime Minister maintained there would be continued support for it in order to boost the island’s capacity “to deliver the highest possible training and support to our people”.

She further pointed out that there would be support in other areas such as chemotherapeutics; agriculture via pesticides and increasing the island’s sugar cane yields. With respect to the latter, Ms. Mottley said: “We have lost so much of the institutional knowledge of our sugar industry, that we too now will cooperate with Cuba, to be able to boost our yields and operation of other uses for the sugar cane as opposed to sugar.”

The Prime Minister also noted that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Biotechnology Cooperation between Export Barbados and BioCuba Farma would bring about greater pharmaceutical equity in Barbados, the Caribbean and the Americas.

“Cuba has shown the world that it can lead in research and development of biopharmaceutical products… that can benefit all of our people.  In addition, we believe that the technology transfer to the development of the life sciences industries in our own country, from Cuba, will benefit Barbadians… Therefore, we look forward to the operationalising aspects of this MOU,” Ms. Mottley underlined.

The Prime Minister expressed optimism that an MOU would be signed between the Government of Cuba and Barbados, through the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, to facilitate enhanced language training, in the future.

Author: Julie Carrington/BGIS

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