Hanover residents benefit from Health Mission

BY ANTHONY LEWIS Observer writer SANDY BAY, Hanover

Thursday, June 04, 2015

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NEARLY 1,000 residents from across several communities in Hanover recently benefited from the 13th staging of the Hanover Health Fair, valued at over $20 million.

Conducted by the Los Angeles-based Caribbean Health Outreach (CHO) with support from the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Hopewell chapter, Hopewell Kiwanis, Hanover Charities, Western Regional Health Authority and Caribbean Producers Jamaica Ltd, clinics were held in Sandy Bay, Lucea, Askenisk, Jericho, Nyrere and Tryall Golf Club.

The group provided a raft of services including paediatric care, dental care, Pap smear tests, prostate tests, HIV tests and electrocardiogram (ECG). They also distributed pharmaceutical supplies to scores of patients.

President of the CHO, Hope Miller-Bodden, a native of Duncans, Trelawny, who received her medical training in the USA, says that "the group's return to Jamaica year after year is as a result of seeing the need of Jamaicans."

"When I came first and saw the great need ... the appreciation, the love that the people in Jamaica seem to give every time we come. They have open arms, thanking, smiling and always looking to see us every year," Miller-Bodden expressed, adding "this is very, very special to me and I will continue to do this until I can no more."

In addition to the clinics, sexual education classes were also held at the Rusea's High School in Hanover, while students at the Junior Plus School in St James were screened for ear, nose and throat infections.

President of JCI Hopewell chapter, Janel Panton explained the importance of having such a health fair.

"When we go to the clinics, you will hear from a lot of the residents that the last time they went to see a doctor was when the health fair team came last year, or, 'I cannot remember when'. So, these persons do not have as much money as professionals who are working, so they cannot afford to go to the doctor as they would want to," she said.

"When they (patients) come to the health fair, they get medication for up to three months for the different ailments, and since we go into their communities, they do not have to pay much for transportation, so it is really taking to people their needs."

A breakdown of the numbers seen during the five-day medical mission revealed that 100 people took HIV tests of which all came back negative, while 75 ECG and 79 Pap smear tests were done.

Additionally, some 180 people sought dental care, while 300 received eyeglasses and approximately 850 prescriptions were filled.

Speaking at the closing event at the Tryall Club, Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson underscored his appreciation for the work undertaken by the health mission.

Dr Ferguson pointed out that despite gains made in the health sector, "there are still gaps, hence the importance of medical mission teams which save the country thousands in United States dollars."

The medical mission team was also thanked by Custos of Hanover, Dr David Stair, Regional Technical Director of the Western Regional Health Authority, Dr Ken Garfield Douglas and Lucea mayor Wynter McIntosh.

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