Ashish Health Care offers free medicals in St MarySunday, July 25, 2021
BY ROMARDO LYONS
ASHISH Health Care in St Mary will be offering free medicals to students within the community of Highgate on Wednesday, July 28, as part of its assistance with back-to-school preparations.
Indian native Dr Nagendra Babu Chandolu, who runs the facility with his wife, Dr Alekya Daram, also Indian, says they are targeting over 200 students to lift that burden off parents in what is an already financially stressful time.
“Last year we did about 170 free medicals. We are still expecting a bigger crowd… we are expecting over 200 people now and we have the support from our team. All my staff will be supporting and we have other people who come from different communities and help us. We have a team of about 35 to 40 people so we have a huge manpower. We are able to serve them as long as they come. The last time, we didn't really advertise it because we were worried about COVID,” Dr Chandolu told the Jamaica Observer in an interview.
“We are trying to do free medicals for back to school. We are starting with a free medical in Highgate and we are going to start a care package distribution on August 1. The plan is to distribute around 500 care packages and each package consists of about $1,500 to $2,000 worth of items,” he continued.
Dr Chandolu added that there's no worry this year where COVID-19 is concerned. He said nothing will get in the way of assisting St Mary residents.
“Most of the team members are vaccinated [so] we don't have any problem. We still maintain protocols and abide by the law and do what we have to do. We don't want any excuses to say we didn't do it this year because of COVID.”
Ashish Health Care, with the assistance of sponsors and community volunteers, organised and donated over 250 packages to people in need last year. The private health facility also donated walkers, wheelchairs, books and clothing to the elderly, children and others in need.
Dr Chandolu told the Sunday Observer that this will continue this year as the health care precedes what has now become an annual Emancipation Day care package distribution that is done across multiple communities, including Albany, Highgate and Robin's Bay.
“Since working in this practice for almost six years, we see that a lot of people need service which they cannot afford. So, we started the Ashish Community Health Organisation (ACHO) Ltd and every four months we do some activities.
“Every summer we do the free back-to-school medicals for the children who are returning to school. Last year we had medicals in Annotto Bay, Highgate and Islington. We also went to some churches where they invited us. So last year we did 600 to 700 students who have benefited from us, at no cost.”
The feedback from parents, he said, has always been a factor that motivates him to continue giving back, seperate from the inclination developed from his humble beginnings and a period he spent volunteering with Missionaries of the Poor when he first arrived in Jamaica.
“They were really happy. This year and last year are COVID years, and so many people lost their jobs and so many people are facing the financial situation. And even if the children don't go to school, they still have to get the school fee and maintain some basic stuff. So, we need to support them. When we do these things, they are happy.”
And the children aren't the only ones who will benefit. Their parents, if interested, get free tests too.
“We also do free blood pressure check-ups, sugar tests, HIV tests, cholesterol tests… it's not just for the little children,” he said.
Additionally, Dr Chandolu highlighted the fact that these initiatives and events are self-funded for the most part.
“We are doing all these activities with our own funds. We always write letters to people for them to donate. It is our passion. We love to do these kinds of activities and we don't want anything to stop us. We started with a vision and we want to fulfill that. We will make it as best as possible. My aim, at the end of the day while doing this, is to inspire somebody,” he said.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login