With a population of just under 2.8 million in 2015, Jamaica ranks 141st in the world by population and 167th by total area. The official language of Jamaica is Jamaican Standard English, but the primary spoken language is English-based Creole. The currency is the Jamaican dollar.
Jamaica ranks 53rd in world health ranking per WHO. In 2014, the total expenditure on health per person was $476, which is 5.4% of the GDP. Jamaican males have a life expectancy at birth of 74 years, and females can expect to live 79 years. There are .41 physicians per 1,000 people in Jamaica as compared with 2.56 physicians per 1,000 people in the United States.
Jamaica has over 330 health centers, 24 public hospitals (spread over all 14 parishes), and the University Hospital of the West Indies, a regional teaching facility partially funded by Regional Governments. Public facilities supply about 5,000 beds. The Ministry of Health, responsible for managing public facilities, has focused on primary care, refurbishing over 80 health centers. However, lack of supplies and other resources is a problem at hospitals, causing delays in surgeries and other procedures. There are also 10 private hospitals where the care is better, but also too expensive for most of the population.
Healthcare in Jamaica is free to all citizens and residents at government facilities, but long waits are a problem. Prescription drugs are also a covered benefit, but long waits and short supply apply to pharmacies as well. Private insurance is available from several different companies for those who can afford it.
Travel, or international, health insurance provides comprehensive medical coverage when traveling outside of one’s home country. Travel health insurance is different from travel insurance, as the latter may provide only emergency coverage but not full medical coverage.
Travelers should check with their health insurance provider, as they may already have an option of international health coverage. If they do not, they can purchase travel health insurance from their home country or the destination country.
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