The Jamaican Diaspora is expected to play a key role in the development of health tourism in the island.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, said that discussions are far advanced with nationals abroad for the realization of health tourism projects in the island.
Already, Cabinet has approved the construction of a US$200 million medical facility in St. James, which will be spearheaded by the Diaspora.
Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank, the Foreign Affairs State Minister said that health is “one of the areas that the Diaspora is strongest in”.
He noted that nationals abroad have made significant contributions to the health sector through various means, including medical missions, and the donation of equipment to hospitals and other facilities.
He informed that there were 132 medical missions to Jamaica in 2012 and 135 in 2011, many of which were spearheaded by the Diaspora.
Mr. Brown said that there is an established process to allow for the smooth movement of medical equipment into the country, noting that there is a drive to donate 1,000 blood pressure machines to medical facilities in the island.
The State Minister told JIS News that a team of Canadian health professionals visited Jamaica in March, and conducted an audit of hospitals to see what equipment and furnishings were needed, and they are putting containers together to address those needs.
He informed that he also met with officials at the Sony Brook Hospital in Canada, during a recent visit to the country, where discussions focused on donations, training, and the sharing of knowledge and information.
By Toni-Ann Rankine, PR Officer