Southern USA Diaspora adopts four clinics in rural Jamaica –

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Jamaica’s Consul General for the Southern USA, Oliver Mair, last Wednesday (Jan. 19) handed over funds to the Riversdale Health Clinic in St. Catherine to begin the process of adoption of that clinic by the Southern USA Diaspora.  
This new adoption brings to four the total number of clinics adopted by the Southern USA Diaspora under the auspices of the Consul General.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Hon. Minister Tufton commended the Consulate and the Southern USA Diaspora community for their initiative, commitment, and leadership in assisting Jamaica’s health care. The Minister encouraged embracing the relationship between the Adopt A Clinic (AAC) program and the Diaspora to further engage in the health clinics identified under the AAC.
Speaking at the adoption of the Riversdale Health Clinic, the Consul General expressed appreciation to the many sponsors and donors across the Southern USA communities whom he commended for selflessly contributing to the worthy cause. These included corporations, private enterprises, community groups, charitable organizations, civic associations, elected officials, individuals, and the staff of the Consulate General.
Two additional clinics have also been finalized for adoption under the Ministry of Health’s Adopt A Clinic program by the Consulate General and the Hi-5K Southern USA. These include Bamboo in St. Ann and Highgate in St. Mary. Proceeds from this effort will also continue the support of the Port Antonio Health Clinic in Portland, which was adopted in October 2019, following the inaugural staging of the Hi-5K Run/Walk that year.
What began as a physical health and wellness initiative by Consul General Mair in 2019, with a small group of health enthusiasts, has grown into a significant annual event. The Jamaica Hi-5K Run/Walk is staged simultaneously in other areas under the Consulate General of Jamaica, Miami location. The Consulate serves the thirteen southern states; Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, North and South Carolinas, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Tennessee, New Mexico, and Arkansas.
The motivation to continue the physical health and awareness campaign has resulted in community generosity – giving back to Jamaica’s health needs. The inaugural staging held at Central Regional Park, Fort Lauderdale, in October 2019, raised nearly $9,000. This amount was officially presented (pre-COVID) to the Port Antonio Health Clinic under the Adopt-A-Clinic program to start the adoption process. Initiated by the Health and Wellness Ministry, the AAC program seeks to improve health care in Jamaica by engaging the local private sector and the Diaspora to play a critical role through philanthropic support to a pool of 100 clinics identified for adoption.  
To formalize the three-year adoption process, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the principals and the Ministry and includes arrangements for payment of committed funds and the launch event of the selected clinic. The adoption process is based on the needs of the individual clinic – minor infrastructure upgrade and expansion, minor maintenance and repairs, acquisition of clinic equipment and furniture, and scheduled mission trips.
Last year, the event raised $33,000 net proceeds from the registration process, which will adopt the additional three clinics. According to Consul General Mair, the goal is to secure commitment for at least five clinic adoptions under the AAC initiative. Hence, the name of the philanthropic group. 
Plans for the third annual Run/Walk are now underway. Scheduled for Saturday, May 7, 2022, at the Miramar Regional Park, registration has already started for the event. “We’re looking for 1,000 registrations this year,” Mr. Mair stated. Interested persons may register at  
The annual event’s success grew from 300 registrants at the initial event and doubled to 685 last year across Diaspora communities, including Georgia, Central, and South Florida.  
The annual 5K event includes many family fun activities and community participation, including an awards ceremony, competitions, health workshops and screenings, promotional displays, brunch, and entertainment. 
Meanwhile, other dates are being scheduled for the adoption ceremonies for the Bamboo and Highgate Clinics.
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