Jamaica’s Health Minister Introduces Project CODE Care to Alleviate Medical Backlog

Jamaica’s Health Minister Introduces Project CODE Care to Alleviate Medical Backlog

Health and Wellness Minister, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton is seeking to recruit nurses, doctors, and other medical personnel as part of his Project CODE CARE, which he says will help clear the elective surgery backlog in the island’s hospitals. During a recent presentation, Tufton noted that since March 2020, many hospitals have had to suspend the standard processing of elective surgeries, which has resulted in the extension of the length of time that persons have to wait for these operations, sometimes up to two years.

An informational flyer from the Jamaica Consulate in NY announces that the Government is seeking to recruit medical staff for Project CODE CARE. Apart from the COVID pandemic, one of the main reasons was the limitation of staff, especially registered nurses, as there has been a migration of large numbers of general and specialist nurses in recent years.

A preliminary survey of hospital waiting times and the number of patients waiting for surgeries in Jamaica was conducted in March 2022.

The findings revealed that more than 7,000 Jamaicans are waiting for operative care.

The Health Ministry says it introduced Project CODE CARE to ease that stress, with the intended engagement of specialist nurses and support staff in the form of nursing missions to support the local nursing cadre for seven to 14 days. Nursing missions will be engaged utilizing contacts within the Diaspora and other friendly support personnel. Expanding the number of surgical teams through the Project CODE CARE will allow at least 2,000 additional surgeries in hospital facilities. A total of 10 nurses per week will be targeted under Project CODE CARE for 400 nurses assigned for the 12 months of the intervention. The program will target nurses from countries with a high Diaspora presence, such as the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Nurses to be attracted to the project include:
•Operating Theater Trained Nurses
•Post Anesthetic Care Unit (PACU) Nurses
•Nurse Anesthetists

Details of the program include:
• 7 – 14 days of service to the Jamaican health system
•Air transportation, accommodation, ground transportation and a per diem for their stay on the island, insurance for work in the facilities and their time in the country, Nursing Council Certification, and fee waivers
•Assignment to specific surgical firms for five days at a time to provide support to the different backlog lists
•Two days for relaxation at one of the country’s all-inclusive resorts.
According to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, since 2020, the Public Health system in Jamaica has utilized myriad interventions to manage and curtail the impact of COVID-19.

A vital element of the pandemic response plan is reviewing and enhancing the Infection Prevention and Control Measures for health facilities. These enhanced measures required that, from time to time, services in the health facilities had to be restricted. Thus, elective surgeries were reduced by at least 70% in some cases.

For more information:

Chris Benjamin
Community Relations Officer
Consulate General of Jamaica, NY

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