KINGSTON, Jamaica – Concerns about inadequate medical services across the country have prompted the United States to update its travel advisory to level 3, which warns citizens to reconsider travel. This is in addition to the standard caution about crime.
In its advisory issued earlier this week, the Department of State told American citizens to reconsider travel to Jamaica due to crime and medical services.
The advisory stated that “local police often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. When arrests are made, cases are infrequently prosecuted to a conclusive sentence.”
It added that families of U.S. citizens killed in accidents frequently wait a year or more for final death certificates to be issued by Jamaican authorities.
“The homicide rate reported by the Government of Jamaica has for several years been among the highest in the Western Hemisphere. U.S. government personnel under chief of mission security responsibility, are prohibited from traveling to several areas, from using public buses, and from driving outside of prescribed areas of Kingston at night.”
Concerning emergency services and hospital care, the advisory said this varies throughout the island, and response times and quality of care may vary from U.S. standards.
“Public hospitals are under-resourced and cannot always provide high level or specialized care. Private hospitals require payment up front before admitting patients and may not have the ability to provide specialized care. Ambulance services are not always readily available, especially in rural areas, and are not always staffed by trained personnel.”
“We strongly encourage you to obtain traveler’s insurance, including medical evacuation insurance, before traveling to Jamaica,” the advisory noted, adding that the Department of State does not pay medical bills.