Opportunities For Health And Wellness Tourism Highlighted

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Reginald Budhan, says Jamaica stands to benefit significantly from recent expansions at the Medical Faculty of the University of the West Indies (UWI), and establishment of the All-American Institute of Medical Sciences (AAIMS) in St. Elizabeth.

Speaking during a special ceremony to present 37 students at the AAIMS with their white coats, at the Everglades Conference Centre, in Parotee, St. Elizabeth, on Thursday (December 6), Mr. Budhan contended that these developments would position Jamaica to capitalize on opportunities to full establish health and wellness tourism locally.

“The industry, worldwide, was valued at US$40 billion in 2004; today, in 2012, the industry is valued at US$100 billion. Our overall objective is to position Jamaica as a premier medical centre in the Caribbean, to take advantage of export medical services, including medical tourism,” he said.

Mr. Budhan informed that surveys conducted in the United States showed growing interest in outbound health/medical tourism, with indications that this focus would likely be maintained in the “foreseeable future”.

The presentation of white coats to the students is recognized globally among medical training institutions as representative of undergraduates’ completion of, at least, the theoretical aspect of their studies. The exercise was being undertaken in Jamaica for the first time. Having completed theoretical training in medicine, the students of AAIMS will now be assigned to clinics and hospitals to pursue their internships.

Based in Black River, St Elizabeth, the AAIMS is Jamaica’s newest medical training institution, and is a recognized Off-Shore Medical School, which opened its doors in 2009, when it was officially chartered by the Government of Jamaica.

Keynote speaker at the ceremony, Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) President, Dr. Aggrey Irons, urged the graduates to display a high level of professionalism that would redound both to their benefit, and that of the persons whom they would serve. Similar sentiments were expressed by Chairman of AAIMS University Council, Dr. Simon Clarke.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Education Officer, in the Ministry of Education, Clement Radcliffe, described the exercise as an accomplishment worthy of celebration, and “an achievement that has been well earned”, by the students.