Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton is welcoming a medical mission to the island from October 17 to December 17, being organised by the Jamaica Diaspora Council Northeast.

Tufton was speaking at the sixth in a series of virtual town hall meetings dubbed ‘Let’s Connect’ with Audrey Marks, Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States.

He thanked the Jamaica Diaspora Northeast team for the mission, which will be going into the parish of Westmoreland at the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital. He said that the health and wellness ministry will be happy to do whatever is necessary to support the mission, and highlighted the need for support for the parish and the hospital.

“That parish has had its fair share of outbreaks, and that hospital in particular has had significant challenges in terms of bedspace. We have had a number of deaths, and so any support at all would be excellent,” Tufton said. He added that work is ongoing on the field hospital there and that, hopefully, by the time the mission team arrives in Jamaica, the facility would be ready for them to function and to provide support for the hard-working team on the ground.

Information on the medical mission was disclosed at the town hall meeting by Global Jamaica Diaspora Council Northeast representative Dr Karren Dunkley, who explained that the team already had more than 60 volunteers registered. She used the opportunity to appeal for physicians, respiratory therapists and nurses.


“The purpose of the mission is to provide human resource support to our healthcare counterparts in Jamaica,” Dunkley said.

She added that the advance team will be deployed on October 17 and that they will be followed by teams of 10, led by different doctors, including lead partner Dr Trevor Dixon from the Jamaicans Abroad Helping Jamaicans At Home (JAHJAH) Foundation, Dr Robert Clarke from Help Jamaica Medical Mission, and Dr Gary Rhule, Jamaica Diaspora Northeast’s health sector co-chair.

Other lead partners include Registered Nurse Claudette Powell of the Jamaica Diaspora Northeast USA and Karen Shields from the JAHJAH Foundation.

Dunkley said fully vaccinated individuals who wish to volunteer, can visit the entity’s website,, to register. She added that there would also be a strong focus on mental health, and that this effort to destigmatise mental health would be led by Lorraine Smith, a nationally certified mental health expert who will provide counselling services.

Dunkley also alerted persons to the fact that drop boxes are available in New York and New Jersey for much-needed medical supplies, all listed on the website, for the mission.

She thanked Consul General to New York Alsion Roach Wilson for her role in the effort, and expressed confidence that the goal of 100 persons to provide support for healthcare workers at the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital will be met.