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Public-private Collaboration to Accelerate Jamaica’s COVID-19 Response
Photo Credit: Rudranath Fraser
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Local Health System Sustainability Project (LHSS), led by Abt Associates, is working with the government of Jamaica and private sector stakeholders to reduce the strain on the public health sector from the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen the country’s COVID-19 response. LHSS is helping accelerate widespread, equitable access to vaccinations through the private sector and vaccinate people who prefer to receive a vaccine from a private provider. This work aims to engage the private health sector to improve the country’s capacity to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and future health emergencies by increasing equity in access, reducing vaccine hesitancy, and decreasing morbidity and mortality from the virus.
To illustrate, Jamaica’s State Minister in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Hon. Juliet Cuthbert Flynn, noted that since October 2021, more than 17,000 COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered to Jamaicans free of charge by private health providers on behalf of the government. While addressing the launch of the Private Sector COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Partnership in New Kingston on February 25, 2022, State Minister Cuthbert Flynn remarked, “It is good to see this kind of a partnership in this fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. We can’t do it alone. We need all hands on deck.”
In sync with the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ Outsourcing of Vaccination Administration Plan, LHSS is supporting this new public-private partnership with technical assistance and nine grants totaling $600,000 to private health facilities and Health Connect Jamaica, a private provider network. Facilities represented include private hospitals, health centers, doctors’ offices, and pharmacies.
Photo Credit: Rudranath Fraser
The facilities’ initial contracts with the government, set up in September 2021, enable them to administer COVID-19 vaccines. They are using grant funds to strengthen their capacity to scale up their COVID-19 vaccine administration. Key areas of support include cold chain capacity; communications and outreach; documentation and reporting; and waste management. In addition, Health Connect Jamaica is using its grant to develop and roll out training that will enable private health care providers to offer COVID-19 case management services.
To date, more than 1.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to Jamaicans, covering approximately 26 percent of the population. The country’s ongoing COVID-19 response remains focused on increasing equitable access, reducing vaccine hesitancy, and lowering morbidity and mortality from COVID-19. To help achieve these goals, the government plans to administer 75,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines as part of ongoing collaboration with the private health sector.