Ministry of Health Deepens Relations with the Jamaican Diaspora

The Jamaican Diaspora Healthcare Sector and Friends of Jamaica, in association with the Ministry of Health, will be hosting a meeting at the Knutsford Court Hotel, Kingston, on Thursday October 11, 2012. The meeting, sponsored by The Organization for Strategic Development in Jamaica (OSDJ), is aimed at strengthening the Ministry's relations with healthcare professionals in The Jamaican Diaspora and Friends of Jamaica, and both groups' extended networks. It is part of the ongoing effort to strengthen the framework for integrating overseas healthcare outreach to Jamaica into the Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Health.

This meeting will also serve as the launch of the Advancements in Medicine and Healthcare 2013 conference (AIM&H 2013) scheduled for February 25 – March 2, 2013 in Jamaica.

During the Jamaican Diaspora and Friends of Jamaica Healthcare Fact Finding Mission to Jamaica in October 2011, the team identified critical areas of need within the healthcare system of Jamaica and believes this collaborative network from the Jamaican Diaspora and Friends of Jamaica can play a vital role in responding to them. Members of the Jamaican Diaspora and Friends of Jamaica leaders will be in the island for meetings with the Regional Technical Directors, Parish Managers and other stakeholders in the Ministry of Health. The purpose of the meeting is to prioritize the findings of the October 2011 mission and identify local Hospital Liaisons who, together with the Hospital Liaisons in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom will help develop and manage projects agreed on at this meeting and approved by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health.

As a result of the Fact Finding Mission in October 2011, members of the Jamaican Diaspora and Friends of Jamaica have agreed to develop a strategy to address hypertension and related heart diseases in Jamaica. The group has launched a campaign to equip healthcare facilities across the island with 1000 blood pressure machines by February 2013. The Jamaican Women of Washington and the Virginia Mission Team have already made donations to the Western Regional Health Authority and to the parish of St. Thomas. Another shipment of blood pressure machines will be delivered to the Regional Technical Directors and Parish Managers from the other parishes at the meeting on October 11, 2012.

In support of this initial response to cardiac diseases, OSDJ is engaging cardiologists from its partner institutions: Mayo Clinic, University of Minnesota, Vanderbilt University, Hennepin County Medical Center, the University of the West Indies Faculty of Medical Sciences, and members of the Jamaican Diaspora to develop a comprehensive response for professional development, research, infrastructure development and patient care in Jamaica. Representatives from this team will be in Jamaica for talks with the Ministry of Health and the University of the West Indies Faculty of Medical Sciences.

A key building block in this effort is the recognition of Hospital Liaisons from the Jamaican Diaspora and Friends of Jamaica, and ones based in Jamaica. The goal is to have each hospital (beginning with the 25 public hospitals and the University Hospital of the West Indies) identify one Diaspora Liaison, and each Diaspora Country doing the same; this would guarantee that at any given time there are at least four persons helping to prioritize and coordinate The Jamaican Diaspora and Friends of Jamaica healthcare outreach efforts to hospitals in Jamaica, ensuring that they are aligned with the Ministry of Health's Strategic Plan. In the United States 25 such hospital liaisons have already been identified and efforts are being made in the UK and Canada to identify similar persons. The goal is to have these 100 persons (25 from Jamaica, 25 from US, 25 from UK and 25 from Canada) identified and recognized by February 2013.

We are grateful for the continued leadership and support of Mrs. Claudette Powell, Jamaica Nurses Group of New York; Dr. Roy Streete, Organization for International Development; Dr. Cheryl Holder, Jamaican Diaspora Southern Region; Mr. Kingsley Gilliam, Jamaican Diaspora Canada; Dr. Enid Collins, Jamaican Diaspora Canada; Mrs. Celia Grandison-Markey, Jamaican Diaspora UK; Ms. Carol Cooper, Jamaican Diaspora UK; Ms. Dorothy Turner, Jamaican Diaspora UK; those who have agreed to serve as hospital liaisons; and the many organizations and volunteers unselfishly helping to improve the healthcare delivery system in Jamaica.

To get information on the list of hospitals in Jamaica or to learn more about the healthcare needs of Jamaica and how you and your organization can join the effort to help improve the healthcare delivery system in Jamaica, contact the team members listed above or visit

Start making plans to join us February 25- March 2, 2013 for the Advancements in Medicine and Healthcare 2013 Conference. For More Information Contact: Ms. Timberlake, Ministry of Health (876-967-3538)

Additional contacts

In Canada
In United States
736-503-0869 –
516-459-2903 –
718-652-3978 –
954-483-7685 –
In United Kingdom
Note: Information posted as provided 



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