CODE CARE on the move

Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton (third from right) and Consul General to Miami, Oliver Mair (second from right) shares a photo moment with medical professionals in Miami. From left are Dr. Oneil Pyke, Chief Medical Officer at Jackson North Medical Centre; Dr. Stephanie Lyew, General Surgeon and Consultant at the University Hospital of the West Indies; Mrs. Patricia Ingram-Martin, Chief Nursing Officer with the Ministry of Health & Wellness; Dr. Marie Sandra Severe, Senior Vice President & Chief Executive Officer, Jackson North Medical Centre; and Dr. Beverly Fray, Manager, Jackson Health System Academic Partnerships.

Health team courts medical pros overseas

The Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton is leading a series of discussions with members of the Jamaican diaspora in the United States to recruit medical staff for CODE CARE, a project to improve wait times for elective surgeries, including for cataracts as well as oral and sinus cancers.

The Minister, who is accompanied by a team from the Ministry, including Mrs. Patricia Ingram-Martin, Chief Nursing Officer, have so far held meetings in South Florida and Atlanta. The meetings have covered faculty exchanges and training to benefit Jamaicans under CODE CARE.

Following his participation in the 170th PAHO Executive Council Meeting in Washington DC this week, the Minister will travel to New York to continue the CODE CARE recruitment efforts.

“Since March 2020, many hospitals have had to suspend the normal processing of elective surgeries, which has resulted in the extension of the length of time that persons wait for these operations, sometimes up to two years,” Dr. Tufton told Parliament during his Sectoral presentation on May 3 (2022). 

Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton (centre) in discussion with Mr. Peter Powers (left), chief executive officer of Memorial Regional Hospital and Mr. Oliver Mair, Consul General to Miami.

“One can only imagine the pain and suffering that those Jamaicans have to bear waiting for a procedure, but due to the COVID-19 priorities cannot get this procedure done,” he added at the time.

CODE CARE has been introduced 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 between seven and 14 days.

The expansion of the number of surgical teams though project CODE CARE is to enable at least 2,000 additional surgeries in facilities islandwide. In addition to the United States, the Health & Wellness Ministry is also to recruit personnel from Canada and the United Kingdom.

Recruited nurses will be provided with air and ground transportation, accommodation, and per diem for the duration of their stay in Jamaica. These are in addition to insurance for work in the various facilities and their time in country; Nursing Council Certification and fee waivers.