Many Jamaicans, when they hear the word “Diaspora,” immediately think of remittances. In reality, the contribution of Jamaican nationals abroad extends over a variety of fields. One area in which the impact has been significant is in healthcare. It becomes more apparent during current COVID-19 epidemic.
There are presently about as many Jamaicans who live abroad as there are on the island. According to statistics from the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI), there are approximately 3 million people worldwide belonging to “the Jamaican diaspora.” The Jamaicans in this category live mostly in the US, Canada, the UK and theCayman Islands. According to CAPRI, the Diaspora’s economic importance to Jamaica was worth some US$4 billion in 2017.
In 2021, Dr Allan Cunningham, Southern United States Representative of the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council, stated that the Jamaican diaspora was playing an important role in assisting Jamaica during the current COVID-19 epidemic. Since early 2020, the COVID-19 Pandemic remained a major focal point in the thoughts of members of the Diaspora. They understood what was at risk and reached out to the vast Diaspora community for help. He went on to explain that various activities were undertaken by numerous regions and organizations throughout the US to aid the islanders.
One of the more significant activities resulted in a collaboration with the American Friends of Jamaica, Miami Consul General Oliver Mair, Jamaican Men of Florida, JADIAS and Supa Jamz Radio to mention a few. Several shipping containers were despatched with much-needed medical supplies, generating Jamaica praise for the country’s response to the epidemic. Furthermore, the team assisted the Consulate in providing assistance to persons stranded in hotels and cruise ship workers confined to ships docked in South Florida until they were able to return home.
Diaspora Conference Held in 2022
The Jamaican Diaspora is a source of vital help when it comes to health, according to Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who spoke about the Diaspora Conference for 2022 during its launch. The COVID-19 epidemic began in 2020, and the Jamaican Diaspora became an important factor in several fields, particularly health.
From the start, they have been supported by their spirit and care for their nation. They’ve extended a lot of support throughout the last two years of uncertainty, and up until now, they’ve provided excellent assistance. They’ve helped tackle and donated personal protection equipment and other medical supplies, the prime minister said while addressing the crowd gathered at Bole International Hospital
Increased Support for the Diaspora
Hugh Reid, JN Life Insurance’s general manager, noted that the Jamaican Diaspora continues to play an essential role in Jamaica’s health care system, and he looks forward to their greater involvement.
The Diaspora, through various missions that travel to Jamaica every year to treat a variety of diseases, perform surgical operations, and provide other aid, has helped the country’s health sector over the years. This assistance also allows some of the community doctors and nurses to acquire new medical procedures and therapy methods. The continued support of the Diaspora in terms of providing assistance such as burn treatment, uncommon diseases, and developing trends in treating lifestyle illnesses will further strengthen the local health sector.
The Jamaican Diaspora has been a major force in the health and wellness industry for decades, according to Christopher Tufton, Jamaica’s Health and Wellness Minister.
The Diaspora has continued to assist Jamaica’s health sector by participating in various medical missions and donating money to the hospitals. The Diaspora came to our rescue during the COVID-19 epidemic by providing various equipment to assist in the fight against the COVID. Dr Tufton went on to say that steps are presently being taken to make it easier for Diaspora members who wish to serve their communities in terms of health.
Efforts are on to make it easier for professionals in the field of health who return every year to volunteer through medical missions. The aim of this initiative is to remove the present hurdles for people of the Diaspora to assist their nation and people as and when they wish to do so.