Jamaica’s Consul General to Southern USA, Oliver Mair,  handed over funds to Riversdale Health Clinic in St. Catherine on Wednesday, January 19, to begin the process of adoption of that Clinic by the Southern USA Diaspora.  This now totals four clinics adopted by the Southern USA Diaspora under the auspices of the Consul General. The funds were proceeds from the Jamaica Hi-5 Run/Walk which took place in June 2021 in Florida and Atlanta.

Jamaica’s Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Hon. Minister Tufton commended the Consulate and the Southern USA Diaspora community for their initiative, commitment and leadership in assisting in Jamaica’s health care.  The Minister encouraged embracing the relationship between the Adopt A Clinic (AAC) programme and the Diaspora to further engage in the progress for the health clinics identified under the AAC.

Speaking at the adoption of the Riversdale Health Clinic, the Consul General expressed appreciation to the many sponsors and donors across the Southern USA communities whom he commended for selflessly contributing to the worthy cause.  These included corporations, private enterprises, community groups and charitable organizations, civic associations and elected officials, individuals, and also the staff of the Consulate General.

Hi-5K Southern USA Adopt A Clinic (AAC) Initiative

Two additional clinics have also been finalized for adoption under the Ministry of Health Adopt A Clinic (AAC) programme by the Consulate General and the Hi-5K Southern USA.  These include Bamboo in St. Ann and Highgate in St. Mary.  Proceeds from this effort will continue the support of the Port Antonio Health Clinic in Portland, which was adopted in October 2019, following the inaugural staging of the Hi-5K Run/Walk that year.

What began as a physical health and wellness initiative by Consul General Mair in 2019, with a small group of health enthusiasts has now grown into a large annual event, the Jamaica Hi-5K Run/Walk staged simultaneously in other areas under the jurisdiction of the Consulate General of Jamaica, Miami location.  The Consulate serves the thirteen (13) Southern States namely, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, North and South Carolinas. Plus, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Tennessee, New Mexico and Arkansas.

The motivation to continue the physical health and awareness campaign has now resulted into community generosity – giving back to Jamaica’s health needs. The inaugural staging held at the Central Regional Park, Fort Lauderdale, in October 2019, raised nearly $9,000 (US).  This amount was officially presented (pre-COVID) to the Port Antonio Health Clinic, under the Ministry of Health and Wellness Adopt-A-Clinic (AAC) programme to start the adoption process.

Improving Health Care in Jamaica

Initiated by the Ministry, the AAC programme is geared towards improving health care in Jamaica by engaging the local private sector and the Diaspora to play a critical role through philanthropic support to a pool of 100 clinics identified for adoption.  To formalize the three-year adoption process, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is signed between the principals and the Ministry, and this includes arrangements for payment of committed funds and the launch event of the selected clinic.

The adoption process is based on the needs of the individual clinic. Especially minor infrastructure upgrade and expansion, minor maintenance and repairs. More importantly, acquisition of clinic equipment and furniture, and scheduled mission trips.

Last year, the event raised (US)$33,000 net proceeds from the registration process. These funds will go towards the adoption of the additional three clinics. According to Consul General Mair, the goal is to secure commitment for at least five clinic adoptions under the AAC initiative.  Hence, the name of the philanthropic group.

Third Annual Hi-5 Run/Walk 2022

Plans for the third annual Run/Walk are underway.  This is scheduled for Saturday, May 7, 2022, at the Miramar Regional Park.  The success of the annual event grew from 300 registrants at the initial event and doubled to 685 last year. This includes Diaspora communities across Georgia, Central and South Florida.  Registration has already begun for the May event. “We’re looking for 1,000 registrations this year” Mr. Mair stated.  Interested persons can now register at www.jamaicahi5krun.com.

The annual 5K event also includes a plethora of family fun activities and community participation. Including the awards ceremony, competitions, health workshops and screenings. In addition to promotional displays, brunch serving and entertainment.

Also in attendance were the Medical Officer of Health for St. Catherine, Dr. Francia Prosper-Chen, staff members of the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Consulate.

Meanwhile, other dates are being scheduled for the adoption launch of the Bamboo and Highgate Clinics.