Increase in overseas health missions expected

February 01, 2023
Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton (right), looks on while Head of a gynaecological team on a medical mission that came to the island, Dr. Monique Jones (left), speaks at a reception for the group, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, recently. Also pictured is Jamaican-born United States (US) based critical care nurse, Dr. Sandra Lindsay.

Jamaica should see an increase of overseas health missions on the island, through the efforts of the revamped Health for Life and Wellness Foundation in the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

Portfolio Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, says an appeal he made last year while in New York, United States (US), for health professionals to return and provide needed services through the missions is “paying off”, and the Foundation, which had a recent boost to its personnel, will be coordinating more of “these kinds of missions”.

He said that the three teams that were on the island recently did crucial surgeries under the CODE Care Programme and several community outreach activities,  and “we continue to build on that”.

“A lot of them are Jamaicans, some are not; some are just friends of Jamaica. Public health can’t survive without this kind of collaboration, so we appreciate it,” the Minister said.

Lead gynaecologist on one of the teams, Dr. Monique Jones, told JIS News that when Minister Tufton brought it to their attention that due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there was a backlog of surgeries to be cleared on the island, she and the medical persons, numbering 58, sprang into action.

“I went back and got a team. It was an amazing task. I love giving back; that is what I do. I try and reach everybody in different ways, and the women who we operated on were so appreciative,” she said, noting that they did operations at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), and delivered other services on the island.

Through the non-profit healthcare provider Northwell Health, they gifted a cardiotocograph machine to the Noel Holmes Hospital in Lucea, Hanover.

The CODE CARE programme is geared at clearing outstanding elective cases due to the backlog caused by the COVID-19 crisis. 

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