JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Jamaica Diaspora Health Task Force in the United States of America (USA) is working closely with the Ministry of Health and Wellness to advance the Adopt-a-Clinic programme.
  • Under the initiative, launched in November 2017, the Ministry has earmarked 100 health centres across the island for support from local and international individuals, groups and corporate entities. The United Kingdom (UK) Diaspora is a key partner in the programme.
  • Co-Chair of the Task Force for the USA North East region, Claudette Powell, told JIS News that discussions have been ongoing with stakeholders to identify persons and/or groups that will commit to partnering with health centres in Jamaica for the required three to five years.

The Jamaica Diaspora Health Task Force in the United States of America (USA) is working closely with the Ministry of Health and Wellness to advance the Adopt-a-Clinic programme.

Under the initiative, launched in November 2017, the Ministry has earmarked 100 health centres across the island for support from local and international individuals, groups and corporate entities. The United Kingdom (UK) Diaspora is a key partner in the programme.

Co-Chair of the Task Force for the USA North East region, Claudette Powell, told JIS News that discussions have been ongoing with stakeholders to identify persons and/or groups that will commit to partnering with health centres in Jamaica for the required three to five years.

She was speaking to JIS News during Tuesday’s (June 18) session of the eighth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference, which is under way at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

Ms. Powell, who is a registered nurse consultant, said she is optimistic and is working towards being able to report on the adoption of at least 50 clinics by the next Diaspora Conference in 2021.

She expressed gratitude to Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, for his support for the Diaspora USA initiative.

She said that at a meeting prior to the conference, the Minister “shared some of the strategies adopted by the diaspora group in the UK in their Adopt-a-Clinic effort, which has been relatively successful. I will certainly be guided by that”.

Executive Director of the Ministry’s Health and Wellness Foundation, which has direct responsibility for the Adopt-a-Clinic programme, Courtney Cephas, told JIS News that there have been 14 adoptions to date, with another 20 in the pipeline.

“We are expecting to have at least one adoption per month and we are ramping up the efforts in that regard,” he said. Mr. Cephas said that the buy-in from the private sector in Jamaica has been good and “we are looking for that support to continue”.

He pointed out, however, that the foundation has a goal of having at least 30 per cent of the adoptions coming from the diaspora.

“Most of the support, so far, has been from the local companies here in Jamaica and some out of the UK. They have adopted five clinics, and recently, we had three from the USA, and there is one coming up from Canada. We are looking for the support to be expanded both locally and overseas,” Mr. Cephas said.

“If even 30 per cent of the adoptions come from the diaspora, then that would be very good. We want the programme to be as diverse as possible. We are working closely with the Task Force on this,” he continued.

The Adopt-a-Clinic programme is one of the key strategic initiatives of the Ministry to strengthen the primary healthcare sector.

The objective is to provide the facilities with requisite basic needs and resources that will better enable them to deliver improved quality services to communities.