Are there any planned changes to the financing strategies or financing mechanisms to fund the health system? | Jamaica Are there any planned changes to the financing strategies or financing mechanisms to fund the health system? | Jamaica

27 Sep 2022

According to the Ministry of Health’s Strategic Business Plan (2015-2018), a strategic government priority is a Health Financing Programme which seeks to ensure that ‘while Jamaica is addressing its macroeconomic and fiscal challenges, also promotes policy dialogue on options and best practices in developing health financing systems that support moving towards universal health coverage (UHC) and identifying the main difficulties to guarantee the sustainability of this coverage.’ This may include strategies such as an increase in private-public partnerships including donations and health foundations.

Like many other countries in the region, Jamaica’s health system receives financing from partnership with the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB). Notably, in April 2019, the Ministry of Health and Wellness received a US$100 million-dollar loan from the IDB to support a programme for the strengthening of the Jamaican health system via upgrades of five hospitals and ten health centres across the island over the next five years, dubbed the ‘Health Systems Strengthening for the Prevention and Care Management of NCDs Programme.’

On May 7, 2019, the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Honourable Christopher  Tufton tabled the National Health Insurance Plan (NHIP) Green Paper in the House of Representatives (JIS, 2019). The matter of a national health insurance scheme for Jamaica has been on the political agenda for over 50 years and was tabled twice in parliament, once in 1974 and again in 1997, but it was never implemented, partly due to the country’s economic challenges (Jamaica Observer, 2019).

However, with the improved state of the economy and heightened awareness of the value of healthcare, as well as the international evidence-based support for universal health coverage, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, in partnership with the Caribbean Policy Research Institute, has launched a rationale for its implementation over the next few years.

This includes the importance of the scheme in assisting with poverty mitigation, improving national productivity rates, and increasing individual opportunity for investment . The first order of business in ensuring that the NHIP becomes a reality this time around is consensus on key points, including which benefits the scheme will cover, a suitable, sustainable financing mechanism and a decision on which segments of the population will have access to its benefits. These issues will be discussed during a series of Green Paper Consultations (Ministry of Health and Wellness NIHP Green Paper, 2019).


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

Jamaica Information Service (JIS). (2019). Dr. Tufton Tables National Health Insurance Plan Green Paper. Available from: https://jis.gov.jm/dr-tufton-tables-national-health-insurance-plan-green-paper/

Jamaica Observer. (2019). National Health Insurance – a game-changer whose time has finally come? https://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/national-health-insurance-a-game-changer-whose-time-has-finally-come/

Ministry of Health and Wellness NIHP Green Paper. (2019). Green Paper on National Health Insurance Plan for Jamaica. Available from: https://www.moh.gov.jm/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/NHIP-Greenpaper-2019-Edited-7_5_19-Final.pdf