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Office of the Chief Medical Officer

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Jamaica is the head of the Technical Services Division, Ministry of Health and is the Chief Technical Advisor on all medical and health matters to the Minister of Health, as well as to the Government of Jamaica.

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) is responsible to oversee and ensure that the health status of the people of Jamaica attains and maintains high levels commensurate with international and national development goals.

The core functions include:

  • Policy development and research, as well as formulation of strategies, standards, guidelines, programmes and plans to ensure delivery of high-quality health care, giving consideration to access, effectiveness, efficiency, responsive and equity.
  • Promotion of factors which positively impact health development and monitoring and evaluation of the health status of the population in keeping with the policies of the Jamaican government.
  • Guidance in formulation, ratification, translation and legislation pertaining to International and Regional Imperatives, Agreements, Plans, Strategies and Goals for health and related sectors.
  • Adherence to the requirements of the eleven (11) Essential Public Health Functions.

The Chief Medical Officer has overall technical and supervisory responsibility for all technical programmes in the Ministry of Health and therefore, plays a critical lead role in directing and guiding the technical staff, and ensuring the development of necessary policies and plans which impact positively on the health of the nation.

The Chief Medical Officer is responsible for and oversees the following areas:

  1. The three (3) Technical Branches in the Ministry of Health
    1. Health Services Planning and Integration Branch
    2. Health Promotion and Protection Branch
    3. Emergency, Disaster Management and Special Services Branch
  2. The Office of the Chief Medical Officer, including
    1. Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)
    2. Director, International Cooperation in Health
    3. Senior Medical Officer (Health Informatics)
  3. National Epidemiology Unit
  4. National Laboratory Services – National Public Health Laboratory and National Blood Transfusion Services

The Chief Medical Officer also gives technical guidance to the National Family Planning Board, National Council on Drug Abuse and the Regional Health Authorities.

Some of the special functions of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer, include:

  1. Advice to the Civil Aviation Department, on the medical fitness of airline pilots.
  2. Advice to the Ministry of Social Security on NIS Medical Benefits as well as eligibility of the disabled for income tax relief.
  3. Advice to the Minister of Labour on the granting of work permits, as well as naturalization, for health aspects of applications.
  4. Advice to the Ministers of Health and National Security on the control of Dangerous Drugs in Jamaica.

The Chief Medical Officer promotes Inter-sectoral Collaboration in Health through representation of the Ministry on:

  1. Medical Council of Jamaica
  2. National Council on Drug Abuse
  3. Board of the University Hospital of the West Indies
  4. Inter-Ministerial Committees and Fora
  5. Optician’s Council, as well as through convening of the:
  • Central Health Committee
  • Quarantine Authority, and
  • Pesticide Control Authority

Key legislation supporting the above activities includes:

  • Public Health Act (1985)
  • Civil Service Establishment Act and Regulations (1976)
  • Dangerous Drugs Act (1948)
  • Food and Drugs Act (1975)
  • Medical Act (1976)
  • University Hospital’s Act (1999)
  • Opticians Act (1926)
  • Pesticides Act (1996).