Minister announces multimillion-dollar greenfield medical-tourism investment

Jamaica’s health-tourism sector is set to get a shot in the arm with the announcement today of a JAMPRO-facilitated US$170 million greenfield medical-tourism investment.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton confirmed on February 14 that the Government of Jamaica has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with American Global MD (AGMD) for the country’s first five-star medical-tourism facility. Minister Hylton signed the MOU on February 13 with his colleague, Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson and Minister of Tourism, Dr Wykeham McNeill.

AGMD is a consortium of American-trained physicians and investors, all of whom have strong Jamaican links as a result of having previously studied or practiced in the country. Under the MOU, AGMD will build a fully ‘amenitized’ 200-bed hospital and medical facility that will target the North American and Caribbean markets. The investment upon completion will provide employment opportunities for Jamaican doctors, nurses and other medical-related personnel, delivering services ranging from elective surgeries, rehabilitation and naturopathy.

Under the first phase of the project, a 50-75-bed patient facility will be constructed to offer plastic and cosmetic surgery, bariatric services and dental specialties.

In welcoming the AGMD investment to Jamaica, Minister Hylton pointed out the catalytic impact that the Greenfield project will have on the growth of the island’s medical-tourism industry. “This investment is in keeping with the Government’s commitment to the development of the medical-tourism industry as a major area of growth for Jamaica. I wish to commend the significant work of JAMPRO to bring us to this stage in a joined-up Government way with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Tourism,” said Hylton.

The Government’s Health & Wellness Tourism policy that was informed by a cross-ministerial team, seeks to lay out the framework for positioning the country as the newest destination for medical and wellness tourism. These efforts were set in train by a comprehensive JAMPRO-led study of the industry’s potential that was completed in 2011, with the assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat. Most recently, Cabinet has approved the mechanism for the development of the medical-tourism industry and will be establishing a steering committee with major industry stakeholders to guide the finalisation of the policy and regulatory framework.

Globally, the medical-tourism industry is valued at more than US$40 billion in 2010, with major markets in the industry generating over 1.5 million medical tourists.

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