DISCOVERY BAY, St Ann - Approximately 850 students from the early childhood to tertiary level have benefited from well-needed free medical checks for the start of the new academic year, courtesy of their Member of Parliament (MP).
Medical doctor and MP for North West St Ann, Dr Dayton Campbell, provided the medical checks at several clinics he hosted across his constituency during the summer holiday.
The clinics culminated last Wednesday with a health fair at the Discovery Bay All-Age School where the MP, who received assistance from his colleague Dr Carmalee Armstrong and a team of four registered nurses, also brought in other entities to provide services to the residents.
"We had the CDA (Child Development Agency) and representatives from PATH (Programme for Advancement through Health and Education) and HEART/Trust, so people could access vital information from any of these agencies," Campbell told the Jamaica Observer North East.
In addition to addressing the medical needs of the children in the constituency, Campbell said he was also able to provide medical checks to some 100 children in South East St Elizabeth where Richard Parchment is Member of Parliament.
Campbell told the Observer North East that he was cognisant of the challenges a lot of parents encounter while preparing for back-to-school, and the monies that some would have had to spend to have their children medical reports done.
"I realised that majority of the parents can't meet their financial needs, and I realised that I could help alleviate some of the costs to do the medical and then they could reallocate that money to buying books," he explained.
Clinics were held in several parts of the constituency including Runaway Bay, Discovery Bay and Thicketts, where students from early childhood through to tertiary level benefited.
The back-to-school medical checks, Campbell explained, form part of the weekly medical clinics he has implemented since he was elected MP following last December's general election.
He explained that thorough medical checks were carried out on the students and those needing further medical examination were given referrals to receive specialist treatment and follow-ups.
Campbell said a number of children also needed further eye examination and some required glasses.
One parent, Yverose Hall, who visited the clinic in Discovery Bay, expressed gratitude for the free medical checks as she pointed to the numerous challenges a lot of parents face each year in getting medical examinations done for back-to-school.
"I brought my daughter and my son to this free medical thing that's going on at Discovery Bay All-Age School. They're both OK. It really save me pocket; with the thousand-dollar we would have to pay, that really could put little food on the table," Hall said.
Meanwhile, Campbell said he was working on acquiring a mobile clinic, which would expand the reach of the medical care he has been providing to residents throughout his constituency on Mondays.