Website for Medical Volunteers Launched, a website for medical volunteers, was launched yesterday (May 13) by the King’s House Action Committee for Medical Volunteers.

The website will provide vital information for medical teams planning to visit Jamaica, including work permit requirements, the documentation to be prepared, regulatory councils and agencies to liaise with, and information on Jamaican culture, history, and recreational sites. The volunteers will also be able to register online.

At the launch held at King’s House, Governor-General, His Excellency, The Most Hon. Professor Sir Kenneth Hall, said that volunteers, who offer their services to Jamaica, should be recognized for their work.

“When volunteers visit our country, whether they are Jamaicans living abroad or others whom they have recruited, it is very important to simply say thank you and to show some sign and some indication of appreciation for the work which they do, because all of them could have been elsewhere. These are highly valued specialists, who volunteer to be here and I think we owe it to them to make it at least possible for them to offer their services in this way,” Professor Hall said.

The Action Committee, which was conceptualized by the Governor- General, was formed in July of last year, to give recognition to visiting medical teams, show appreciation for their work, provide them with information needed to function effectively in Jamaica, and to co-ordinate their activities. Additionally, receptions are occasionally hosted for volunteers.

William Clarke, Chairman of the Committee, said that volunteers make very valuable contributions to the health sector. “Medical volunteers have given many people a second chance in life. These volunteers help to reduce the long waiting lines for heart, eye and orthopaedic surgeries, among others,” he pointed out.

“Just last month,” he continued, “we had teams visiting and performing scoliosis surgeries at the Bustamante Hospital for Children. Jamaica has benefited in many ways from the help of medical volunteers over many years. As a country, we are fortunate to attract people, many of whom are Jamaicans living overseas, who have displayed a deep sense of philanthropy.”

The Action Committee aims to minimize the hassle medical volunteers may have in clearing their equipment and medication; ensure that they make contact with the right people, specifically as it relates to bringing in donations of equipment; begin the process of documenting the value of their contribution; and to ensure that they enjoy their stay in Jamaica.

In addition, the Committee will be working closely with a facilitation unit within the Ministry of Health and Environment to ensure that the process is as seamless as possible for the volunteers.