How are health services accessed? | Jamaica How are health services accessed? | Jamaica

27 Sep 2022

In the Ministry of Health’s Strategic Business Plan (2015-2018), access to healthcare services is listed as a strategic policy priority, while improving access to specialised health services and appropriate technology in health, including for vulnerable groups, is listed as a strategic objective. Some objectives for improving access to health care, including access to information on key health issues, have been accomplished. For example, the plan reports that sign language training programmes for health centre staff were completed between 2016-2017, along with sensitisation workshops and a project to improve accessibility of health facilities for the differently abled.

Some health programmes, such as JADEP and the NHF Health Card are accessible via registration, and JADEP, for example, has eligibility criteria (persons must be over 60 years old to qualify). However, all persons have access to public health care facilities, although there may be long wait times or delays in services. Nevertheless, those with health insurance coverage are more likely to access health services. Additionally, Jamaican male ‘macho’ culture may impact the higher use of health care services among females than males (Bourne et al., 2010).

The first port of call for persons if they don’t feel well in Jamaica, barring accidents and emergencies for which persons are likely to access the A&E departments of the closest public hospital, may be their private GP (for those accessing private health care), or a nurse at their community health centre (for those accessing public health care) (Bourne et al., 2010).


Bourne, P., Denise, E.-S., Paul, T. J., LaGrenade, J., & Charles, C. A. (2010). Public and private health care utilization differences between socioeconomic strata in Jamaica. Patient Related Outcome Measures, 81. https://doi.org/10.2147/prom.s11868

Government of Jamaica, Ministry of Health. (2014). Strategic Business plan 2015-2018. Available from: https://moh.gov.jm/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Ministry-of-Healths-Strategic-Business-Plan-2015-2018.pdf