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  • Jamaica has benefited from initiatives in health, education, and public safety coming out of the Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference held in Kingston in 2017.
  • Director of the Diaspora Affairs Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Lincoln Downer, said that 11 health centres have been adopted at a total cost of $11 million for up to three years, under the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ ‘Adopt-a-Clinic’ initiative.
  • Delegates had committed to adopt 55 clinics islandwide to coincide with Jamaica’s 55th Independence anniversary.

Jamaica has benefited from initiatives in health, education, and public safety coming out of the Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference held in Kingston in 2017.

Director of the Diaspora Affairs Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Lincoln Downer, said that 11 health centres have been adopted at a total cost of $11 million for up to three years, under the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ ‘Adopt-a-Clinic’ initiative.

Delegates had committed to adopt 55 clinics islandwide to coincide with Jamaica’s 55th Independence anniversary.

Mr. Downer said that seven of the clinics were adopted by the Jamaica-United Kingdom (UK) Charities Group in collaboration with the Jamaican High Commission. They are Enfield Health Centre in St. Mary; Mount Pleasant Health Centre in Portland; Elderslie Health Centre in St. Elizabeth; Petersfield and Lambs River Health Centres in Westmoreland; Cascade Health Centre in Hanover; and Mount Carey Health Centre in St. James.

The Little London Health Centre in Westmoreland, and Adelphi and Green Pond Health Centres in St. James, were adopted by the Caribbean Action Network Foundation, and Atlanta-Montego Bay Sister Cities organisation in the United States (US); while the Olympic Gardens Health Centre in Kingston was adopted by Netherlands-based Jamaican Anne Murray Brown.

Mr. Dower said that the Canadian Diaspora is looking to adopt the Kingston-based Glen Vincent Health Centre.

He was presenting the 2017 Conference Report Card during the Post Conference Actions plenary session at the eighth Biennial Diaspora Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, on Wednesday (June 19).

Turning to initiatives in education, Mr. Downer said that the Jamaica Diaspora Education Task Force held ‘Advancement in Education’ summits in 2018 and 2019 to facilitate teacher training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

He noted that 100 teachers at Excelsior Community College benefited from training.

The diaspora also provided support for initiatives aimed at enhancing public safety.

Mr. Downer reported that 70 correctional officers were trained under a programme spearheaded by the Canada-based Crime Prevention and Intervention Task Force in conjunction with the Department of Correctional Services.

In addition, a Citizen Reintegration Project was developed by Christian non-governmental organisation, ‘Operation Save Jamaica’.

“They are working closely with the Crime Prevention and Intervention Task Force where they will actually equip 30 former incarcerated inmates and prepare them for reintegration into society. That project will be launched in September of this year, and I implore you to give them your support,” the Director said.

Meanwhile, he advised that a number of action items are in progress.

Among them is a needs assessment of medical sundries, specialists and equipment requirements by the local health sector. The Diaspora Health Task Force has been working closely with the Health and Wellness Ministry on those inputs.

“We will be in touch with the Ministry to continue to find ways of implementing that action plan,” Mr. Downer noted.

He said that the Health Task Force has also committed to develop an exchange programme for Jamaican nurses in tandem with the Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. “I know discussions are under way; and so we will be following that one as well,” he noted.

Mr. Downer further advised that the Crime Prevention and Intervention Task Force will be collaborating with the Ministry of National Security to develop “robust plans” incorporating members’ expertise, in efforts to tackle and reduce gang-related violence.

Meanwhile, the Director encouraged the delegates to ensure that detailed information is provided on projects being pursued for implementation, emphasising that “this is important in the reporting process”.

He advised that all recommendations emanating from this year’s Diaspora Conference will be collated and incorporated into an action matrix as part of the implementation process.

“We must have actionable items. They must be clear, they must be precise [and] they have to be time-bound… because that is how we make ourselves accountable. Going forward, I encourage that we really take seriously the next steps… . The next two years [leading to the 2021 Conference] must count. I urge you to work along with us in ensuring that there is something tangible that will come from this Conference,” Mr. Downer said.