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Jamaica flagJamaica

Location: Caribbean Sea
Population: 2.9 million
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Located in the Caribbean, the original inhabitants of Jamaica are believed to be the Arawak. On May 10, 1655, Admiral William Penn and General Robert Venables led a successful attack on Jamaica. The slave trade became a popular and profitable venture for the colonists. The slaves, however, were unhappy with their status, so they rebelled whenever they could. On 19 July 1962, the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the Jamaica Independence Act. Jamaica was granted its independence from England. Jamaica now has its own constitution which sets out the laws by which the people are governed. The constitution provides for the freedom, equality, and justice for all who dwell in the country.

Jamaica follows a primary organizational pattern for its medical facilities. The model is dependent highly on the nursing staff. The government sector, the Ministry of Health (MOH), laid the foundation for this system. A loosely regulated private sector accompanies this state-sponsored system. The public sector has been derived from the British National Health Service model. It regards health as a public benefit and offers affordable healthcare. On the other hand, the private health insurance model provides insurance to around 10% of the public. There is at least one small hospital in every area of the island. Despite that, for advanced emergency care, you must travel to cities like Kingston and Montego Bay. Emergency services are only available in big towns and cities. These services lack both quality and quantity.

Despite the fact that Jamaica has been able to train personnel for most of their local health care needs, the public and private health care systems are often critically short staffed in many areas. It can be seen in the ratio of physicians and nurses to the population. World Health Organization (WHO) numbers from 2018 find that Jamaica has 0.807 nurses and midwives per 1,000 population. This compares with 17.6 nurses and midwives per 1000 population in the United States and an average of 14.6 nurses and midwives per 1,000 in other developed countries. There are 1.31 physicians per 1,000 population in Jamaica. A study from 2016 estimated that 50 per cent of physicians who had graduated since 1991 have left Jamaica, which accounts for the staff shortages.

Approximately 30,000 people are living with HIV in Jamaica, and as many as half of them do not know their status. The demographic with the highest rate of new infections is women aged 9 to 19 years old. An estimated 1,700 new HIV infections occurred in 2016. Out of the 30,000 Jamaicans living with HIV, approximately 11,000 are on treatment. The high numbers can be attributed in large part to the unimaginable stigma placed on Jamaicans living with HIV.

The Government of Jamaica has aggressively addressed the HIV/AIDS epidemic since 1988, when it established the National HIV/Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention and Control Program. The Program, working under the MOH, facilitates governmental cooperation with the private sector and in the fight against HIV/AIDS. During the past two decades, Jamaica has taken several steps to combat HIV/AIDS. More recent efforts include developing an HIV/AIDS prevention and control project; implementing two national strategic plans on HIV/AIDS and STIs; and establishing a private sector-led business coalition on HIV in 2006. Jamaica has made efforts to provide universal access to HIV treatment, care, and prevention, with special emphasis on vulnerable populations.

COVID-19 infections are decreasing in Jamaica, with 116 new infections reported on average each day. There have been 88,480 infections and 2,184 coronavirus-related deaths reported in the country since the pandemic began. Jamaica has administered 903,310 doses of vaccines so far. Assuming every person needs 2 doses, about 15.3% of the country’s population has been vaccinated. Jamaica is labeled a Level 4 in -19 levels, which means there is a very high risk of infection when travelling to Jamaica.

In 2019, the HCV prevalence rate was 1.64%. There were 46,114 people living with HCV in Jamaica. 54 HCV related deaths were reported in 2019.

Learn More About the HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 Situation in Jamaica