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  • Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says the Ministry has put in place a think tank, and an advisory body on Diaspora affairs and medical missions to increase the responsiveness of the Ministry and its agencies to health donors.
  • The move is part of measures to better facilitate overseas medical missions and organizations that desire to assist the country’s health sector.
  • The Minister was delivering the keynote address at Help Jamaica Medical Mission’s (HelpJAMM) 4th Annual Black Tie dinner held on Saturday, November 1, in East Hanover, New Jersey.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says the Ministry has put in place a think tank, and an advisory body on Diaspora affairs and medical missions to increase the responsiveness of the Ministry and its agencies to health donors.

The move is part of measures to better facilitate overseas medical missions and organizations that desire to assist the country’s health sector.

“These bodies will also act as the liaison between the Ministry and the Diaspora to ensure a responsive and streamlined process of engagement,” he said.

The Minister was delivering the keynote address at Help Jamaica Medical Mission’s (HelpJAMM) 4th Annual Black Tie dinner held on Saturday, November 1, in East Hanover, New Jersey.

He pointed out further that liaison officers are being identified for all public hospitals to “seek development assistance relating to philanthropic pursuits as well as public-private partnerships”.

Dr. Ferguson informed that the Ministry has also completed a gift policy “to provide guidance to our many donors and streamline the way in which we accept gifts in the health sector”.

He said that “while we continue to be very grateful to the many donors, who assist Jamaica each year, I would like to urge them to adhere to the terms of this policy to make it easier for donated medical items to clear Customs”.

Minister Ferguson disclosed that Jamaica realized savings of US$990,000 in pharmaceuticals from hosting 197 health missions in 2013, which represented a significant contribution to the health sector.

The Health Minister lauded HelpJAMM for providing quality healthcare to needy persons in Jamaica and New Jersey.

“Jamaicans, at home, proudly appreciate the dedication and determination that your organization has shown by providing free healthcare year after year, and willingly giving back to your country,” he said.

Meanwhile, he assured that the Government is taking steps to prepare for any introduction of the Ebola virus to the country, as well as to mitigate the effects it may have on the population, and called on the support of the Diaspora in the effort.

President of HelpJAMM, Dr. Rudolph Willis, pointed out that during the group’s health mission to Jamaica in September of this year, over 5,000 patients were treated, with more than 300 pairs of eyeglasses and US$20,000 in medical supplies distributed.

During the function, awards were presented for contribution to the work of the health mission.

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