MINISTER of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson says Jamaica’s participation in the rapidly growing global health export sector is crucial to the country’s sustainable health development.
He said health care services are recognised as being a very important contributor to the growth and development of the services sector, which the most recent estimates put at 81.5 per cent of Jamaica’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In this regard, the health minister emphasised that Jamaica must participate in the emerging opportunities offered by health tourism, as the strategic development of the sector is critical to the country’s development.
Dr Ferguson was making his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives yesterday under the theme ‘Quality health care for all: Fulfilling the Mission, Advancing the Vision’.
Health tourism is the practice of travelling to a tourist destination with the main purpose of receiving health care.
The minister said that in a bid to take advantage of the newly emerging sector, a project involving the public and private sectors has been initiated, in an effort to establish the basis for building the health tourism infrastructure capacity for Jamaica.
The programme involves the University of the West Indies, the University of Technology, the private sector consortium of Columbus Flow, Jamaica National MCSystems, Telegens Ltd and Telemedicine Ltd.
In this partnership, the Government is represented by the National Health Fund, the Mandeville Hospital and the University Hospital of the West Indies.