COVID-19 had a profound impact on Jamaica's health system. At the height of the pandemic the country's public health system was severely overburdened, unable to keep up with the rapid surge on the already under resourced public system. COVID-19 placed new stresses on the country's resources and highlighted the urgency of mobilizing the entire health system - public and private - to address and respond to new and reemerging diseases.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness implemented its Outsourcing of Vaccine Administration Plan encouraging medical professionals in the private health sector to administer COVID-19 vaccines to the public. LHSS Jamaica supported the MoHW to accelerate widespread, equitable access to and the delivery and up-take of safe effective COVID-19 vaccines.
The project's primary goal was to strengthen healthcare capacity in Jamaica through strategic engagement of the private health sector. This project played a pivotal role in supporting the country's COVID-19 response.
LHSS worked with the Ministry of Health and Wellness and private sector stakeholders to leverage existing private sector models to reduce the strain on the public sector and strengthen the country's COVID-19 response. We worked to:
- Increase equitable access to and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines
- Address vaccine hesitancy
- Reduce morbidity and mortality from COVID-19
- Reinforce private health sector resiliency to effectively respond to the pandemic while maintaining essential health services
- LHSS Jamaica administered grants totaling USD $700,000 to nine private health sector organizations including pharmacies, faith-based organizations, private medical practices, and a private health care network. These organizations administered over 16,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, contributing 20% to the Ministry's overall goal for the private health sector. Grantees also benefitted from administrative and organizational support and capacity strengthening opportunities that enabled them to meaningfully contribute to the Ministry's public health response.
- LHSS Jamaica provided critical training to over 60 nurses in the private sector. The trainings include counseling, vaccine administration, case management services, reporting adverse events and waste management practices.
- LHSS' grant to Health Connect Jamaica (HCJ), a network of private providers, enabled them to expand the range of services they offer to include COVID-19 vaccines administration and case management. Under the project HCJ onboarded 20 new providers into their network, adding to the 73 private providers currently offering free COVID-19 and HIV related services to the public. In collaboration with HCJ and the Ministry, LHSS developed a Rapid Surge Plan that outlines the actions and services that HCJ can provide to respond swiftly to new or re-emerging infectious disease outbreaks beyond COVID-19.
- In partnership with the Ministry and grantees, LHSS developed a partnership manual which serves as a rubric for private health sector organizations interested in partnering with the Ministry of Health. Taking lessons from the COVID-19 response, it documents systems, processes, and protocols for public-private engagements.