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As the umbrella organization for all the professional medical associations and societies in Jamaica, the MAJ has played a critical role in enhancing the welfare of Physicians and the medical needs of patients. As an advocate for the provision of high-quality health care and a proactive voice in advancing health awareness and health prevention for the Jamaican people, the MAJ has raised the level of medical services offered to the people of Jamaica.
The Association has promoted continuing education through regular workshops and symposia held each year on tropical clinical and professional issues as well as legal and ethical seminars, frequently interfacing with other professional bodies.
Presidents of the MAJ now serve a two-year term in the office. Prior to their term in the presidency, they serve as the executive of the Association in preparation for the leadership role, often choosing the Projects on which they will focus during their term in office. As immediate past presidents, they provide guidance to the incoming president, while at the same time completing work started during their term. In that way, the Association benefits from at least six years of dedicated service from each President
The Umbrella Organization for Medical Associates
The MAJ provides for its members Continuing Medical Education (CME) seminars and workshops, indemnity insurance through the Medical Association of Jamaica Insurance Fund (MAJIF), and much more
- Plans for achieving Millennium Development Goals in the Health Sector seem remote, unless there is well developed strategic plan timely implemented, to which the entire medical community could contribute in each sector and be motivated to do so. The MAJ President is working on a Five Year Five Point Plan for implementation between 2011 and 2015 and will announce this plan at the upcoming meeting to mark MAJ Founders Day.
- To further the MAJ’s ongoing No-Smoking campaign, Dr. De La Haye wrote a “Treatment Manual for the Management for Tobacco Misuse” and has been conducting workshops over the last 18 months to train physicians and nurses in the management of Tobacco Misuse and on the effective use of the Manual to facilitate continuing training. So far, 200 doctors have been trained and Workshops continue. He is now in discussions with CARICOM to implement these workshops regionally.
- De La Haye was appointed by the Minister of Health to serve on a Committee to review the Regional Health Authorities (RHA)
- Work being done currently by the MAJ President to establish a Joint Sector Reclassification Exercise (May2010), and the appointment of a MOH Reclassification Panel in November 2010.
- Work is continuing on the promotion of the MAJ as “the one voice” for the medical community to advocate Government Funding for Jamaica’s Health Sector, for a review of the “no User Fee” Policy; and for review of the Regional Health Authorities; as well as for timely access to high quality, patient focused health care.
- De La Haye is currently spearheading amendments to the MAJ Constitution to allow Presidents to serve a two year term in Office, with a President elect on his executive, to allow for a smooth transition of Administrations
- Implementation is in progress for a Closed User Group (CUG) for improved communications among the MAJ user group
- Plans are being made for implementation of the MAJ Building Fund.
- During his term in office, The Hon Dr. John Hall collected photographs of all the Past Presidents of MAJ, which he solicited from family members. He also prepared a plaque with all the names of past presidents which he unveiled in a ceremony at the office. The Hon. Dr. John Hall also co-opted Dr. Humphrey Lyn and Mrs. Lyn to refurbish the Conference Room at the Office.
- It was an environment of increasing medical insurance costs, with all but one insurance company, Fir, Insurance Brokers refusing to offer doctors indemnity coverage, which led to Dr. Daley, in collaboration with Dr. Knox Hagley to meet with representatives of FIRM, Winston St. Elmo Whyte and Errol Mighty, to address the need for a fund. Supervised by Dr. Daley, a Proposal for the MAJ Insurance Fund (MAJIF) was presented to the AGM at the end of 2002 and gained the growth of the commitment of support from the MAJ Dr. Albert Lockhart was elected Chairman and under his leadership, management of the growth of the Fund has been rewarding.
- MAJ Annual Medical Symposium 2002: A Focus of Ethical Issues.
- To address the lack of information about Ethics Health Practice at the Workplace and the Discrimination of Employees living with HIV/AIDS, Drug Abuse as well as women who have had Abortions, Dr. Dawes partnered with Dr. Derrick Aarons, Ethics Specialist, Ministry of Health and with Dr. Winston Davidson and Dr. Verna Reid to develop an awareness program to educate the general public about the individual’s right to Privacy and Workplace Ethics, Educational Seminars were held quarterly throughout his term in office.
- When he started his presidency, Maj occupied rented premises, but owned land in the vicinity. In collaboration with Dr. Humphrey Lyn, Dr. Albert Chen and Dr. Verna Reid, they sold the land and held a number of Fund Raising events, coordinated by Drs Chen and Lyn to raise the balance of the funds need to purchase the current office at Windsor Ave.
- The team continued to work on the National Health Insurance Fund, (NHIF) and defeated an inadequate plan for an NHIP Programme after it had been announced in Parliament
- He made the MAJ Presentation to the Commission and the Legalization of Ganga
- An MAJ Outreach Clinic was developed in Annotto Bay
- The executive team participated in meetings to discuss proposed legislation to regulate Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Anaesthetists and Clinical Pharmacists. They defeated an attempt by the Minister of Health to give the impression that MAJ approved that Nurse Practitioners be given unsupervised Prescription rights.
- Dawes initiated with Dr. Errol Daley the development of a Financial Plan for the Medical Association of Jamaica Insurance Fund (MAJIF)
- The major Project undertaken by Dr. Winston Davidson during his Presidency was the Development of the National Health fund (NHF). His objective was to ensure that the nation was provided with a feasible Health Scheme that would provide all Jamaican with access to good and afford health care.
- Davidson wrote the Proposal to Government in which he presented chronic diseases, as the main health challenge facing the country, and that the National Health Plan, as proposed by the Government and was not equipped to address the increasing cost for providing this level of health care and services. His Proposal provided the funding solution for the shortfall. Together with Dr. Winston Dawes, his Vice President and Dr. Errol Daley they attended several meetings with the Ministers of Health and Finance to negotiate details of the Plan. After years of negotiations the National Health Fund was launched in 2003.
- MAJ Annual Medical Symposium 1998: The Changing World and the Roe of the Medical Profession
- The first medical/educational Trip of the MAJ Travel Club departed to the Republic of South Africa
- MAJ representatives attend a Workshop on Gender Management in the Heath Sector in Trinidad.
- MAJ Annual Symposium 1999: Health, Law and the Practice of Medicine.
- The 2nd annual MAJ Travel Club medical/educational trip went off to South India.
- MAJ participates in a critique of the National Health Insurance Plan (NHIP)
- Private Health Sector Survey to identify the locations of medical practices, training needs and opinions of doctors on proposal legislative reform was conducted with funding support from the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica under a USAID/HSIP agreement.
- Continuing Medical Education Seminars on Contraceptive Technology Update in collaboration with Family Health International. Funding Support from Family Health International/USAID.
- MAJ Annual Symposium 1996 on Men’s Health Issues. Major funding support from UNFPA
- MAJ Annual Symposium 1997 on Cardio-Vascular Diseases
- Early in her Presidency, Dr. Green collaborated with the Ministry of Health, the Citizens Bank, and Medplus Insurance. These collaboration resulted in an MAJ Credit Card with Citizens Bank and a Medplus Insurance Package for MAJ members. In 1993, the Ministry of Health attended the MAJ Council Meeting.
- Several education projects were implemented during her term in office.
- MAJ Symposium 1993, an International Symposium and workshop on Reproductive Health and Safe Motherhood developed with the Commonwealth Medical Association and funded by UNFPA, PAHO, and UNICEF.
- Symposium and Adolescent Health and Welfare in collaboration with the Charles Drew University, Department of Family Practice, with funding support from PAHO, UNICEF, C.D.C.
- MAJ representation on the Government delegation to the United Nations 4th World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, China with funding from UNFPA. MAJ was represented on the Preparatory Committee (Prepcom111) meeting.
- Continuing Medical Education Practitioners Workshop series for the Training of Practitioners in the Control and Prevention of STD/HIV/AIDS – over 800 participants attended the Mandeville, Kingston and Montego Bay Workshops. Funding support came from Family Health International and USAID.
- Jamaica Health Sector Expenditure Assessment and Analysis 1994, in collaboration with the Central Planning Unit of the Ministry of Health and Boston University, School of Public Health.
- A Caribbean Consultation on the need for Legislation pertaining to Reproduction Health and the Family with full participation and funding from UNFPA. Participants included Medical Associations from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Guyana; the Faculty of Law of the UWI and of the University of Toronto, Religious Faiths, Catholics for Free Choice, Ministry of Health And PAHO.
- MAJ Symposium 1994, Environmental Issues in Medicine. Funded with a grant from the EFJ, major funding support also came from the Canadian Green Fund and the Commonwealth Fund. International participation from the University of Cape Town and Tonga.
- Annual Symposium on Women’s Health Issues 1995. Major funding support from UNFPA, the National Housing Trust and Scotia Bank. Attended by over 440 medical personnel and 50 private sector persons. The Public Session on “Violence against Women – A Public Hazard” attracted a capacity audience. Regional Medical Associations attending included, Aruba, Belize, Cayman Island, Grenada, Guadeloupe & Martinique, Guyana, St. Lucia, St Vincent, Trinidad & Tobago and Tonga. Speakers making contributions came from The International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), Medical Women’s Int’l Federation, University of South Florida, UK Central Council for Nursing, WHO Global Program on AIDS, Directorate of Family Health International, North Carolina.
- Initiated work on Asthma Week
- Launched the MAJ Travel Club to expose MAJ Members to the practice of medicine in other countries. Trips have since been made to South Africa, India, China, Alaska, Cuba and the Mediterranean.
- Barrow served the MAJ for four years as President. In 1989. At a Blue Cross Symposium, he dramatically three away his cigarette and lighter and with Dr. Lucien Jones as his Vice President went on to mount a very effective anti-smoking campaign. With support from PAHO, this first National No-Smoking campaign in Jamaica executed health promotion workshops, utilizing all the tools for public education, including island wide lectures, posters, fliers, media reviews and focus group discussions. He collaborated with, and gained the support of the international agencies, including the Canadian Medical Association and others, The MAJ received a PAHO award for the campaign.
- During his term of office Dr. Leighton Knight was responsible for moving the offices of the MAJ to a new location and for setting up operational systems. He also initiated discussions with Government for National Health scheme to make affordable health care available to all, particularly the most vulnerable in the society.
- Responding to the need for public education about Diabetes, Dr. Hagley collaborated with Dr. Rolf Richards and partnered with the Lions Club of Central Kingston to bring much needed information about the disease to the people of Jamaica. He held monthly Public Lectures across the island in public spaces including, Community Centres and Church Halls to inform on diabetes and encourages lifestyle changes to minimize the impact of the disease on the diabetic on the diabetic patient. He continued his work though the Diabetic Association of Jamaica which he started for education, advocacy and treatment of the disease. The early 80’s after his presidency, Dr. Hagley passed the reigns of the organization to Dr. Errol Morrison, which he continues to carry out to this day.
- From the inception of the Association, Dr. Beaubrun dedicated himself to establishing international links with other Medical Associations to gain recognition for the MAJ locally, regionally and international. He mounted medical conferences, symposia and training workshops on topics to local and international interest and invited participation from medical practitioners worldwide. He worked to establish a regional group, the Commonwealth Caribbean Medical Association and saluted excellence by introducing the Badge of Honour.
- President Shoucair, a founding member and one of the pioneers of the MAJ visited doctors across the island to discuss the benefits of a local Association and worked to increase membership by encouraging young medical graduates to join and build the local Association. He dedicated his presidency to ensuring highest performance standards and used his considerable skills in financial management to strengthen the organization. A service to the MAJ, which he continues to do even now.
- After a period of intense lobbying for separation from the British Medical Association, to which local doctors had been affiliated as a Branch Office since 1877, the visionary Founders launched the fledging Medical Association of Jamaica with eighteen members on November 25, 1966.
- For the next two decades they worked assiduously to increase membership, establish linkages with international medical associations and wooed new doctors graduating from UWI, who has commitment or affiliations with other institutions or Associations.