Guidance

Jamaica: migrant health guide

Advice and guidance on the health needs of migrant patients from Jamaica for healthcare practitioners.

Main messages

If the patient is new to the UK:

  • explain to them how the NHS works
  • discuss how this compares to the healthcare system they’ve been used to

Ensure that all patients are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule.

Offer and recommend an HIV test to all adults from Jamaica, and consider offering an HIV test to infants and children who have recently arrived in the UK.

Offer to all sexually active individuals:

  • a full sexual health screen
  • safer sex health promotion advice

Consider screening for hepatitis B, particularly among those who have recently arrived, because Jamaica has an intermediate prevalence.

Ask opportunistically about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and see National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), or the Health Protection Scotland websites (TRAVAX and fitfortravel), for travel advice.

Be aware that there is a risk of typhoid infection in Jamaica.

Infectious diseases

Immunisation

Ensure that all patients, especially children, are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule.

Tuberculosis (TB)

There is a low incidence of TB in Jamaica (<40 cases per 100,000), so:

  • routine screening is not required
  • consider testing in patients (including children) who show signs and symptoms
  • be aware that TB is a notifiable disease

Sexually transmitted infections and HIV

There is a high rate of HIV in Jamaica (>1%), so:

Be advised that although recent global data on STIs are not available, countries with high HIV rates tend to have higher rates of STIs, and the range of STIs encountered in Jamaica may vary from those in the UK, so offer to sexually active individuals:

  • a full sexual health screen
  • safer sex health promotion advice by referral to local genito-urinary medicine services

Hepatitis B

There is an intermediate prevalence of hepatitis B in Jamaica, so:

  • consider screening for hepatitis B, particularly those who have recently arrived
  • offer screening for hepatitis B to all pregnant women during each pregnancy
  • immunise appropriately babies born to mothers who are hepatitis B positive, and follow-up accordingly
  • be aware that the UK has a selective immunisation programme for hepatitis B

Hepatitis C

Jamaica has the same or lower prevalence of hepatitis C than the UK, so ascertain any risk factors for HCV infection that may indicate the need for screening.

Travel plans and advice

Ask opportunistically about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and see National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), or the Health Protection Scotland websites (TRAVAX and fitfortravel), for travel advice.

Typhoid

There is a risk of typhoid infection in Jamaica, so:

  • ensure that travellers to Jamaica are offered typhoid immunisation and advice on prevention of enteric fever
  • remember enteric fever in the differential diagnosis of illness in patients with a recent history of travel to-or-from Jamaica

Helminths

There is a risk of helminth infections in Jamaica, including soil transmitted helminthiasis.

Women’s health

Reproductive health indicators

Reproductive health indicator UK Jamaica
Children per woman¹ 2 3
Use of contraception² 82% 69%

¹lifetime average ²by woman of reproductive age or partner

No data are available on:

  • mammography screening rates
  • cervical cancer screening rates

Nutritional and metabolic concerns

Anaemia

There is a moderate risk of anaemia in adults (estimated prevalence in non-pregnant women is 20 to 40%), and in pre-school children (estimated prevalence is 20 to 40%), in Jamaica, so:

  • be alert to this possibility in recently arrived migrants, particularly women and pre-school children
  • test as clinically indicated

Vitamin D

Consider the possibility of vitamin D deficiency in people who may be at risk due to:

  • covering their body for cultural or religious reasons (lack of sunlight)
  • skin colour
  • diet (vegan or vegetarian)

Vitamin A

There is a high risk of vitamin A deficiency in Jamaica.

Country profile

Health indicators and health care

WHO Global Health Observatory has a summary of health indicators and health care in Jamaica.

Culture, politics and history

BBC News and The World Factbook provide background information on the culture, politics and history of Jamaica.

Languages

The main languages used in Jamaica are:

  • English
  • English patois

Source: The World Factbook.

Religions

Religion Population (%)¹
Protestant² 64.8
None 21.3
Other 6.5
Unspecified 2.3
Roman Catholic 2.2
Jehovah’s Witness 1.9
Rastafarian 1.1

¹2011 est. ²includes: Seventh Day Adventist 12%, Pentecostal 11%, Other Church of God 9.2%, New Testament Church of God 7.2%, Baptist 6.7%, Church of God in Jamaica 4.8%, Church of God of Prophecy 4.5%, Anglican 2.8%, United Church 2.1%, Methodist 1.6%, Revived 1.4%, Brethren 0.9%, and Moravian 0.7%

Source: The World Factbook.

Migration to the UK

There were over 160,000 people from Jamaica living in England and Wales at the time of the 2011 Census.

Source: Office for National Statistics © Crown Copyright 2014.

Published 31 July 2014
Last updated 8 April 2016 + show all updates
  1. Updated advice on testing for anaemia, based on current prevalence in Jamaica.
  2. First published.