Ms. Loyce Pace, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs, visited the island nation from September 14 through 16 to highlight the United States government’s commitment to public health in Jamaica and the Caribbean region. Assistant Secretary Pace oversees HHS’ engagement with foreign governments, international health institutions and policymaking bodies, and is responsible for advancing U.S. policies and partnerships to promote public health worldwide.
The Assistant Secretary delivered a keynote address on ‘Using Digital Health to Improve Health Equity’ at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) 66th Annual Health Research Conference and commended CARPHA Executive Director Dr. Joy St. John on the agency’s efforts to advance public health among member states. During her meeting with Minister of Health and Wellness, the Honorable Dr. Christopher Tufton, Assistant Secretary Pace discussed the longstanding partnership between the United States and Jamaica and ongoing collaboration to improve global health security. She also highlighted U.S. investments to strengthen health systems and a commitment to increase public health workforce capacity globally.
Assistant Secretary Pace’s visit coincides with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) celebrating 75 years of public health service. HHS/CDC provides public health expertise and strategic support to the Government of Jamaica and partners to strengthen the public health system, achieve sustained HIV epidemic control, and increase health security capacity to prevent, detect and effectively respond to health threats. CDC’s Caribbean Regional Office in Jamaica works in close partnership with the Ministry of Health and Wellness to strengthen surveillance, laboratory systems, health workforce, and public health emergency response capacity in the country. Since 2014, CDC has provided public health technical expertise and over $3,600,000,000 Jamaican dollars to address the HIV epidemic, strengthen health systems and respond to COVID-19 and other disease outbreaks across the island. On the last day of her visit, Assistant Secretary Pace paid a visit to Slipe Pen Road Comprehensive Health Centre (CHC), accompanied by the CDC Caribbean Regional Office Director, Dr. Emily Kainne Dokubo. The health center is a CDC-supported health facility and the largest HIV treatment site on the island, providing quality prevention, care and treatment services to over 2000 clients.
The visit of the high-level U.S. government official to Jamaica reflects the United States’ commitment to global health and continued efforts to improve health security.